Australian health officials have been analyzing yet another complication that could be linked to the Gardasil vaccination. According to medical reports, three women of the region were stricken with pancreatitis–a sudden, painful and potentially deadly medical condition just a few days after a vaccination with Merck’s Gardasil injection for prevention of human papilloma virus (HPV). While Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is not fully able to link the vaccine to the sudden illnesses, there has been enough of a concern to begin a special investigation into the problem, and try to determine if in fact the shot that has been known in the U.S. for a variety of severe complications could be adding yet another problem to its list of side effects.
Pancreatitis of this nature occurs suddenly, and can have devastating if not deadly effects. The illness is characterized by sudden inflammation of the pancreas which is usually responsible for secreting digestive enzymes that are necessary to digest food, as well as other hormones necessary for the body to function properly. Instead of these enzymes being released into the proper area for food digestion, they began to release into the tissues of the pancreas itself which results in severe pain, bleeding, infection, and possible permanent tissue damage. Pancreatitis is most common in men, and can be deadly if not treated properly.
Of the three Australian women, who developed pancreatitis after their Gardasil vaccine, two have recovered and the third was featured in a local medical Journal. The 26 year old female was admitted to the hospital just four days after receiving her Gardasil vaccine. She had fever, rashes, severe pain and vomiting which doctors diagnosed as pancreatitis. According to the article, because doctors could find no other cause for the pancreatitis, and while coincidental illness could still have been to blame, the authors of the article said that the Gardasil vaccine could not be ruled out as a cause. They went on to recommend that in all cases of abdominal pain following HPV vaccination pancreatitis should be considered as a possible cause.
According to the TGA of Australia, approximately 3.7 million doses of Gardasil have been shipped across the country for use. There have been over 1000 reported adverse reactions including mild soreness, swelling, dizziness and nausea and vomiting. While the US continues to watch this vaccine very closely, the number of reactions is much higher than in Australia. According to the group Judicial Watch, an estimated 9700 adverse reactions have been reported along with 21 deaths that can be linked to the vaccine. Australia’s lower numbers could be linked to a variety of factors including fewer vaccination rates overall or less reporting to health officials regarding reactions.
If in fact some cases of pancreatitis can be blamed on a potentially deadly vaccination, Gardasil and its maker–Merck may be facing even more strikes against a vaccine that is struggling to stay afloat in this country and others around the world as fears of side effects, and failure to complete the three shot series lower the company’s revenues. Merck has been working to have Gardasil approved for use in young men to target anal cancers, and they will be revving up their advertising campaign in coming weeks in an attempt to boost sales.