Should a risk assessment be part of the consent for parents?

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My daughter has had an autoimmune response to HPV vaccine.  This has caused her to miss several weeks of school just as she started the GCSE course.  Further reading has revealed that hers is not a unique reaction.

I am pro-vaccine, but I strongly feel that more research should be put into identifying those children most at risk of severe side effects, to prevent them from getting a condition as serious as the risk causing them to be vaccinated in the first place.  

I am keen to explore the factors that put people receiving vaccines at increased risk of a reaction.  Has anyone else had an auto-immune reaction to a vaccine (a condition ending in ...itis)?  If so, did they have a pre-existing condition such as allergy, irritable bowel or arthritis and did anyone report it on the 'yellow card' reporting system?

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    You don't say what the reaction was, generally the HPV vaccine is considered very safe and like all vaccines in common use it continues to be monitored across the world. With all vaccines there is an increased risk if someone has a preexisting sever allergy, especially if they are allergic to any vaccine component, though this sort of reaction tends to occur quickly.

    In some people the activation of the immune response can cause some flu like symptoms like muscle aches and joint pains but these are unusual with the HPV and generally short lived.

    • Posted

      She developed HSP. And on looking at the evidence she's not alone. Early advice about low grade reaction first time around would have raised our awareness and enabled us to carry out a risk assessment. But where are the health professionals in all this? No monitoring or advice to report minor reactions. I could have prevented a life long condition with competent monitoring and advice!
  • Posted

    I think there is an assumption that the health professionals should be aware of or ask about any allergies or previous reactions, but its hard to say whether this could have been predicted, its quite a rare condition and tends to occur in a younger age group. It is related to allergy and it often follows an infection, a wide range of infections can initiate the reaction as can drug reactions, food reactions etc. The trouble is when reactions are rare they can be very difficult to predict and cases associated with vaccines are usually single case reports, its only after a reaction like this that anyone might know that this person is prone to this risk. She has just been very unlucky really but I hope she is feeling much better now.
    • Posted

      There was no infection or any trigger other than the vaccine. As you say she's not in the classic group to develop this condition. But on this forum there are a significant number of teens who have developed this reaction. So far there had been no interest by the manufacturer to investigate the reason(s) or susceptibility. That's wrong - because that is how they could make all vaccines safe. She's no longer fit to compete in national level sport; because nobody thought to investigate who is vulnerable to reaction nor why. Nor how to decide who has top up doses and who hasn't. This is why the public loses confidence in manufacturers. And it would be so easy for them to do the right thing and increase consumer confidence. It's impossible to accept the individual consequences for the good of the herd when it's your child.
  • Posted

    Hi,  I think from your description there is little doubt that the vaccine initiated this reaction, I was just trying to say how non specific the trigger can be and how unpredictable the course of the reaction can be. The condition is well known but like most autoimmune reactions poorly understood, because it is generally rare it makes it very difficult to identify those at risk.

    I don't think its ignored, there are cases reported in the literature, I think the problem is that with vaccines safety studies are conducted across the world usually by independent investigators. Taking it away from the manufacturers was designed to reassure people. They look at a large group of people who have been vaccinated, measure how effective it is and compair the rate of adverse events with non vaccinated groups.

    Because this reaction is very rare and it might also be seen at a similar rate in the non vaccinated groups, its not flagged up as a significant risk.

    This reaction is usually self limiting and gets better after a few weeks, but it also sounds like your daughter is experiencing persistent problems, again this is known to happen, but is unusual. It seems like your daughter has suffered an unusual adverse reaction and not only that has an unusual presentation of that reaction.

    I know how this can effect peoples views about vaccines, while the numbers clearly show the benefits outweigh risks, when the numbers are really people we care about it puts a different perspective on things. I do hope her condition does settle down, it can do this even after some time, I'm just not sure that there are any good answers out there that would really reduce this risk, we just dont know enough about it. Maybe that is one of the real advantages of a forum like this.

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