What is the HPV vaccine and why is it given?
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine has been shown to be effective at preventing people contracting high-risk types of the Human Papilloma Virus that can in turn cause certain types of cancer, including most cervical cancers.
The latest guidance from the NHS confirms that “In England, from September 2019, all boys and girls aged 12 to 13 will be routinely offered the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination when they’re in Year 8 at school. The second dose is usually offered 6 to 12 months after the first.”
HPV vaccine and CRPS
In an article in 2017, Libby Parfitt discussed reports that the HPV vaccine had been linked to the development of a number of serious conditions, including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
Libby reported that this suggestion had been treated very seriously:
“In Japan they even withdrew the vaccination and set up a scheme to manage chronic pain developed by young women after the jab.
“Complaints particularly came from Denmark and whistle-blower Dr Louise Brinth. Such was the weight of her statements that the Danish Health and Medicines Authority officially asked the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to look into the safety of the vaccine and establish if there really were links between this seemingly harmless immunisation and the development of serious, life-changing conditions.”
In response to this Danish request, in 2015 the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee concluded that there was no evidence to support the suggestion that HPV vaccination causes CRPS or another serious condition known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).
What’s the latest?
Despite the EMA’s conclusions, anecdotal suggestions of a connection between the HPV vaccine and CRPS, POTS and other conditions have persisted.
Now, the American Autonomic Society (AAS) has issued a position statement, in which they say that having “reviewed the literature containing the biology of the virus, pathophysiology of infection, epidemiology of associated cancers, indications of HPV vaccination, safety surveillance data and published reports linking HPV vaccination to autonomic disorders…At this time [the AAS] finds that there are no data to support a causal relationship between HPV vaccination and CRPS, chronic fatigue, POTS or other forms of dysautonomia.”
They conclude that “Certain conditions are prevalent in the same patient populations that are vaccinated with the HPV vaccine (peri-pubertal males and females). This association, however, is insufficient proof of causality.”
That is a strong rebuttal, but only time will tell how far it will go towards addressing remaing doubt. Certainly, the universal message from health and regulatory bodies worldwide is that if there are any risks from the HPV vaccine, they are substantially outweighed by the benefits.