HPV vaccine found to be 'safe and effective'

Henrietta Strickland
May 9, 2018

She noted that some campaign groups have expressed concern about HPV vaccines, but said this review had found no evidence to support claims of increased risk of harm.

All people who are sexually active at some point will be exposed to the HPV virus.

A review has found the HPV vaccine is highly effective against cervical cancer. However, when the infection is not cleared and stays in the body, it can cause the growth of abnormal cells in the uterine cervix.

It looked at 26 trials covering 73,428 girls or women and found that the vaccine is particularly effective when administered to those aged 15 to 26.

"This intensive and rigorous Cochrane analysis. provides reassuring and solid evidence of the safety of these vaccines in young women", said Margaret Stanley, a specialist in the pathology department at Cambridge University. The effects of the vaccine were evaluated for precancerous status with respect to HPV16 and 18 strains and a precancerous status regardless of the HPV strain.

"It reinforces the evidence that preventing infection by vaccination in young women. reduces cervical precancers dramatically".

None of the studies have followed up participants for long enough to detect an effect on cervical cancer.

These pre-cancerous lesions can progress to cervical cancer if left untreated. Public Health England has already shown that the HPV vaccine has contributed to a significant decrease in rates of infection with the two main cancer-causing HPV types (16 and 18) in vaccinated and unvaccinated women. The researchers did not find increased risk of miscarriage in women who became pregnant after vaccination. The review also shows that vaccines do not appear to increase the risk of serious side effects, which was about 7% in both groups.

The researchers looked at the incidence of side effects following the vaccines. About 164 out of every 10,000 women who got placebo developed cervical pre-cancerous lesions, compared with two out of every 10,000 who were vaccinated.

Cochrane lead author, Dr. Marc Arbyn, of the unit Cancer Epidemiology, Belgian Cancer Centre, Sciensano, said: "The findings of this review should be viewed within the context of multiple global surveillance studies, which have been conducted by the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety from the World Health Organization since the vaccinations were licensed". At the same time, the committee encourages health authorities to continue monitoring and reviewing any undesirable effects, "says lead author Dr. Mark Arbin".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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