News & Events

Globe AUg 19 2009 Cervical Vaccine’s top side effect is fainting (fall danger)

NEW YORK – The most common side effect of Merck & Co.’s cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil is fainting after getting the injection, according to a government analysis of reports.

For every 100,000 shots, eight women will faint, seven will have skin reactions at the injection site, and seven will become dizzy, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

There were 32 reported deaths, 20 of which were verifiable, and none could be directly linked to the vaccine, the analysis said. There have been more than 23 million doses of Gardasil distributed in the United States since 2006.

Among the almost 2,000 reported faintings, 200 patients fell and suffered head injuries. Injuries can be prevented if patients rest for 15 minutes after vaccination, the study said. Authors of the analysis said the results may reassure people concerned about reports of deaths and serious side effects raised by groups like the National Vaccine Information Center.

“I think this should provide some assurance to people,’’ said Barbara Slade, medical officer in the CDC’s immunization and safety office.