Sun, Sep 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

As HPV vaccine program looms, groups call for official reporting mechanism

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A women’s rights group and a legislator urged the government to establish an official reporting mechanism for suspected adverse reactions to the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, as government-funded vaccinations are to begin soon.

The Health Promotion Administration in February announced that government-funded HPV vaccinations would be given to seventh-grade girls from November, and that an estimated 100,000 students would be vaccinated each year.

HPV is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and the vaccine protects against several types of HPV, including two high-risk strains that cause nearly 70 percent of cervical cancers and precancerous cervical lesions, the administration said.

In June, two Control Yuan members launched an investigation into the policy, saying that it seemed to lack enough risk evaluations and supporting measures and that a verification mechanism was needed to test the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Taiwan Women’s Link chairwoman Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) on Friday said the government should establish a reporting mechanism to handle cases of suspected adverse reactions to the vaccine.

They presented the case of a woman in her late 30s surnamed Chen who said that she suffered serious adverse reactions when she was vaccinated at the recommendation of her doctor after giving birth to her second child in February.

Chen said she experienced numbness, chest pain, weakness on one side of her body and visual impairment, adding that she was diagnosed with a central nervous system disorder called neuromyelitis optica, which needs long-term therapy.

About 800,000 doses of the HPV vaccine were administered in Taiwan over the past decade, and 167 suspected adverse reactions were reported, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official Chen Ko-hsin (陳可欣) said, but added that this was the first reported case of neuromyelitis optica.

“Pharmaceutical companies are required to report to the FDA all suspected adverse reactions in the first five years after a new drug is launched on the market,” she said.

Although most vaccines are considered safe, the government must still establish a reporting mechanism to handle cases of adverse reactions, Lin said.

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