Expert responds to ‘Gardasil’ HPV vaccine concerns featured on TVNZ’s Close Up

TVNZ’s flagship current affairs programme Close Up led its 2 Feb broadcast with an extended segment on the Gardasil HPV vaccine and one New Zealand woman’s claim that her daughter’s death is linked to the vaccine.

An excerpt from Close Up’s intro to Gardasil: Are we getting the full picture?:

“It is supposed to save lives but could it instead kill your daughter?

“An Upper Hutt mother is blaming the cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, for her 18-year-old daughter’s death – and she is not alone.

“Rhonda Renata’s daughter Jasmine died in September, six months after completing her third and final dose of Gardasil, and after a year of health problems.”

You can view the full segment online here. The SMC featured coverage of the New Zealand Gardasil vaccination programme last August.

In response to the programme, the SMC received the following comment:

Helen Petousis-Harris, Director of Research at the Immunisation Advisory Centre and Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, comments:

“Every year in New Zealand around 400 14-20 year old people die, many from accidents. Other causes of death in young people are cancers, infectious diseases and congenital anomalies such as undiagnosed heart defects. For some deaths the cause remains unknown. This case is currently being investigated by the Coroner and until the investigation is complete there are no details about possible cause of death.

“Based on what we know about Gardasil vaccine and other vaccines we would be very surprised if Jasmine’s death was vaccine-related. The symptoms that we are aware of are not suggestive of a vaccine reaction however some of the symptoms she describes are consistent with other medical conditions associated with sudden death in young people.”