Two young women from Wisconsin have filed a claim in federal court arguing that the HPV vaccines they received led to premature ovarian failure and left them unable to get pregnant. The two women, 19 and 20-year-old sisters, have sparked serious discussion about the potential consequences of the popular cervical cancer vaccines that have been administered to young girls and boys across the country for years.
According to experts, the recent claim from Wisconsin represents the first ovarian failure allegation against the HPV vaccine, though not the first injury claim. The girls’ case will be heard as part of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program. The NVIC says that it has awarded payments related to HPV vaccine injuries to a total of 68 people. The program says it has dismissed a total of 63 claims and that there are another 81 HPV claims pending. The successful claims have added up to more than $5.9 million in payouts
Currently, public health officials across the country recommend that three doses of the vaccine be given to girls and boys between 11 and 12 to protect against the development of cervical and throat cancer as well as genital warts. The two brands of the vaccine available are Gardasil and Cervarix.
In this case, the young women say that they received their first Gardasil shot at 13 and soon after their ovaries stopped producing eggs. In fact, by the time the girls were 16, after they received their third dose of the vaccine, they had been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure.
They say they have both suffered through premature menopause including some nasty side effects such as insomnia, night sweats and headaches. More than anything, the girls say that they are devastated about not being able to become pregnant. One sister has been told that she has no chance of becoming pregnant while another has a five percent chance.
Though it may surprise many people, adverse reactions to vaccines are not as uncommon as many may think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 22,000 adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine reported between 2006 and 2013. The CDC says that the vast majority of these reactions, 92 percent, were for common and minor issues such as fainting, dizziness and nausea.
Though the majority of reactions were for minor issues, a 2011 study conducted by the CDC revealed that some serious complications have also been reported in connection with the HPV vaccine. These include things such as seizures, stroke, allergic reactions and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a dangerous autoimmune condition that can lead to paralysis.
The lawyer for both young women says that he hopes their case raises awareness about the potential downsides to the HPV vaccine. Though the vaccine is safe for many people, it is possible that there might be other girls and young women who have been affected and just don’t know it.