Safety of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccineBMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5631 (Published 09 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5631
- Julia M L Brotherton, medical director
- 1National HPV Vaccination Program Register, VCS, PO Box 310, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia
The prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines are remarkable both for their efficacy against HPV infection and related diseases,1 and for their potential to prevent cervical cancer. Cervical cancer, which is caused by persistent infection with oncogenic HPV types, remains a cause of premature death in women around the world, most of whom have no access to secondary prevention through organised cervical screening programmes.2 The linked study by Arnheim-Dahlström and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.f5906) provides a timely and important contribution to the evidence base on the safety of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine,3 which prevents HPV infection and disease due to the oncogenic types HPV-16 and HPV-18 and types HPV-6 and HPV-11, which cause genital warts.
This population based cohort analysis provides strong evidence that autoimmune conditions, neurological diseases, and thromboembolic disease are not triggered by quadrivalent HPV vaccination. Serious sudden onset conditions such as these, which are largely of undetermined cause, are sometimes falsely attributed to vaccination when population based vaccination programmes are implemented.4 It is crucial that surveillance systems can rule out false associations and identify rare but real …