A WEXFORD woman claims that a vaccine given to her daughter to prevent cervical cancer has left her with long-term health problems.
Susan Whitmore, from Castlebridge, said her daughter Tamara had been suffering from a litany of complaints since late in 2011 when she was first given the drug as part of an immunisation programme carried out at secondary schools.
'My daughter was a very healthy, sporty outgoing active child until she received the Gardasil vaccine. Then her life changed dramatically, she started suffering from persistent pain, muscle pains, memory impairment, headaches, sore throats, joint and menstrual problems, seizures, auto immune illnesses, chronic fatigue and nose bleeds to name but a few.
'She has just entered year three of being sick, and spent six weeks of her summer holidays lying flat on her back either in bed or on the sofa as she was too ill to do anything else,' said Susan, whose daughter is 16. 'She is one of 832 children in Ireland who have the same symptoms.
Susan said Tamara received her first Gardasil batch in October 2011, her second in December, 2011 and her final one in April, 2012. 'We had noticed her voice becoming weaker and everything about her was slower. Within a few weeks she became violently ill. I am convicnced Gardasil was responsible,' said Susan. Susan said High Court action was in prospect in opposition to the use of the drug and a case is due to be put to the European Medicines Agency later this week.
She recently joined an Irish support group called Regret (Reactions and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma) which she says is campaigning to highlight the feared side-effects of Gardasil.
The HSE said in a statement that Gardasil is considered safe and well-tolerated. 'The most frequently reported side-effects are local redness and/or swelling at the point of injection and fever,' said a spokesperson, 'these are typical and usually mild and temporary reactions to any kind of vaccination.'
Each year in Ireland, around 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 100 die from the disease.
All cervical cancers are linked to high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types.
HPV vaccines, of which two are licensed for use in Ireland, protect girls from cervical cancer when they are adults.
The vaccine used in the HPV school vaccination programme is Gardasil, and the contract was awarded after a tender.
'Like Ireland, every one of the many countries implementing HPV vaccination programmes are doing so in the best interest of their citizens, to maximise health, prevent disease and prolong life,' the HSE said.
'Around the world, a failure to implement a HPV vaccination programme would be considered to be a withholding of potentially life‐saving preventive treatment.'