What is the safety of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines?

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
  • Author: Cecelia H Boardman, MD; Chief Editor: Warner K Huh, MD  more...
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The safety of HPV vaccines is a deeply controversial topic. Follow-up of large patient populations who participated in phase 3 clinical trials has documented that both FDA-approved HPV vaccines are extremely safe. Articles in the popular media, however, have detailed cases of young women with devastating illness attributed to the vaccines.

In post licensure safety surveillance for the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, 6.2% of all reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) described serious adverse events, including neurologic injury (eg, Guillain-Barré syndrome) and 32 reports of death. In comparison with other vaccines, rates of most of these adverse events were no greater than the background rates, but there was disproportional reporting of syncope and venous thromboembolic events. [104]

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