HPV Vaccine: Shot Felt Around the World

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It was the shot heard around Texas: Governor Rick Perry's attempt to mandate an HPV vaccine proven to reduce risks of cervical cancer.

Now, that same vaccine is being linked to some adverse side effects.

"Some of the people have categorized it as some of the most painful childhood shots that children can get," Dr. Charles Williams with the Brazos County Health Department said.

Gardasil, the HPV vaccine that touts itself as an important preventative measure against cervical cancer, has come under fire in the past. Now it's making headlines once again, this time for possible side effects.

"There have been reports of fainting episodes after getting the injection, and pain at the location and so forth. It's somewhat transient and short lived and pretty rapidly recovers," Williams said.

Dr. Williams says those side effects typically occur in only one to ten percent of patients. The rest have little or no problems.

Patients passing out from a shot isn't unique to this vaccine.

"A large percentage of people we give shots to, or injections of any type, or even draw blood from, are having fainting episodes just from the discomfort or the trauma of the event," Williams said.

The HPV vaccine isn't the only shot with a bad reputation for causing soreness. The health authority says tetanus and influenza are also high on that list.

However, in all these cases, experts say the pros for getting the vaccines far outweigh the cons.

"I would have them look more significantly at what the vaccine can do in the long term as far as the prevention of the HPV, rather than the short term discomfort of it or any possible fainting episodes," Williams said.


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