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HPV vaccines protect against cervical cancer. The vaccine is used in more than 80 countries More than 80 million girls and women worldwide have now received these vaccines In some countries, the uptake is greater than 90%. In Japan in 2013, false rumours spread on social media about the safety of HPV vaccines. Some parents opted out of HPV vaccination on behalf of their daughters. Denmark and Ireland have faced the same problem. What’s the worry? Specifically, some have claimed that the vaccine is linked to: - complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) - postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) Why the confusion? CRPS and POTS are real but very rare conditions that can affect teenagers. HPV vaccines are given to teenagers, leading some to wonder whether there is a connection. Are the concerns reasonable? The concerns are understandable but unfounded. There is no causal link between HPV vaccines and the symptoms of CRPS and POTS. How do we know? Independent experts at the European Medicines Agency looked at the rates of these conditions in teenagers who had had the vaccine. They compared this to teenagers who had not had the vaccine. The rates of POTS and CRPS were the same in both groups.
This 20 page document aims to summarise and clarify the current understanding of the science of immunisation for non-specialist readers. The document is structured around six questions. 1 / What is immunisation? 2 / What is in a vaccine? 3 / Who benefits from vaccines? 4 / Are vaccines safe? 5 / How are vaccines shown to be safe? 6 / What does the future hold for vaccination?