Is the HPV Vaccine Safe? New Review Looks at 73,428 Women

A new review, which involved data from 73,428 girls and women aged 15 to 26, confirms that despite claims to the contrary, the HPV vaccine is safe and effective.

The analysis by the non-profit, non-governmental organization, the Cochrane group, looked at more than 25 trials from around the world with follow-ups of between 0.5 to eight years to assess the safety record and results of the HPV vaccine.

HPV stands for the human papilloma virus. The virus is insidious, as it can be transmitted through sexual contact without causing any symptoms. The scientific consensus has found that women infected by the HPV virus are much more likely to develop cervical cancers.

Despite researchers repeatedly demonstrating the vaccine’s effectiveness, uptake has been underwhelming in some areas. That’s in part due to anti-vaccination groups highlighting isolated cases of post-vaccine illness and alleging that the vaccine is to blame.

As this latest review finds, that is not accurate.

The benefits of the HPV vaccine far outweigh the risks.

The review, which is available in full here, was conducted as a systematic review and analysis of what are known as randomized controlled trials. As we have previously discussed, these kinds of trials usually provide the best quality data and a meta-analysis of those studies allows researchers to combine smaller results and contextualize them.

For example, all but one of the studies was funded by the industry. This is not unusual but may open up the studies to criticisms of bias. The researchers used their meta-analysis to look for such conflicts. They found low risk that the results had been compromised.

Moving on to the vaccine itself, the researchers found that the vaccine works especially well for girls who were vaccinated before they had been exposed to HPV. For this group, the chances of developing pre-cancerous cells fell from 164 per 10,000 people to two per 10,000.

The chance of having what are known as “high grade” pre-cancerous cells, those that are at high risk of becoming cancerous, fell 99 percent.

There were other findings, but combined they appear to confirm that the HPV vaccine does have the power to cut the risk of developing precancerous cells. The trials did not provide data on actual cervical cancer cases, and this will be the subject of future reviews when more data is available. 

So what about the vaccine’s safety? 

The researchers found that the rate of deaths was virtually the same among people who received the vaccine and those who didn’t. In the vaccinated group they found 14 deaths per 10,000. In the non-vaccinated group there were 11 per 10,000. Not a single death across the studies could be linked to the vaccine.

It has been alleged that the rate of miscarriage may be increased as a result of the HPV vaccine, but the evidence did not support this. The researchers said there was not enough evidence in the trials they analyzed to draw conclusions on whether the vaccine may increase the risk of stillbirths or impact infant development.

Any vaccine does carry the risk of complications, but vaccines go through rigorous testing to ensure that any potential side-effects are minimized and relatively rare. The HPV vaccine is no different.

This study should give confidence on two fronts. Firstly, young women and parents they should be assured that high quality research supports that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective.

Secondly, the researchers in this analysis also point out that, for policymakers, the practice of giving the vaccine to young women (aged 12 to 13) prior to their being sexually active and being exposed to HPV means that the vaccine is at its most effective.

In the face of sometimes hostile opposition to this practice, policymakers should feel assured that they have the data on their side.

“The findings of this review should be viewed within the context of multiple global surveillance studies, which have been conducted by the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety from the WHO since the vaccinations were licensed.” Researcher Dr. Marc Arbyn said in a press release, ”The committee concluded that the risk-benefit profile of prophylactic HPV vaccines remains favourable and expressed its concerns about unjustified claims of harm that lack biological and epidemiological evidence, and which may affect the confidence of the public.”

The researchers do say that long-term follow up with HPV vaccine recipients is needed. That’s because HPV can take many years to develop into cancer, so the data on just how it affects cervical cancer rates, their severity and more things like that, still needs to be developed.

But the upshot from this research is encouraging: the HPV vaccine appears safe and effective for girls and young women. Further research into how young men can be safeguarded with the vaccine should also now be a priority.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Cindy S
Cindy Smith9 months ago

nothing is safe sadly

Chrissie R
Chrissie R9 months ago

Don't think it's safe? Then just take your chances...everyone has the right to their opinions....

natasha p
Past Member 9 months ago

no drug is totally safe........................

Ann B
Ann B10 months ago

we have all become Guinea pigs to WHAT they say we need and is safe--when they hit on something that works like the poison ivy shot--it didn't make money so they took it off the market---how sweet of them

Winn A
Winn A10 months ago


Winn A
Winn A10 months ago


Linda D
Linda D10 months ago

Not safe, not needed, just a money spinner for vaccine makers, I wonder if Steve Williams the author of this article was paid by the vaccine industry?

Julie W
Julie W10 months ago

Merck Accused Of Fraud, Deceit and Negligence In US Gardasil Case
Merck's aggressive agenda to increase HPV vaccine uptake rates, despite causing thousands of severe injuries, is hitting a stumbling block in a court case alleging blatant corruption.

There has been documented evidence that the HPV vaccine has caused more injuries than any other vaccination in history. Despite this evidence however, the HPV vaccination has continued to be hailed a success by the pharmaceutical industry and governments alike.
According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) VigiAccess database, as of April 09, 2018, a total of 85,329 reports of adverse reactions have been filed regarding the HPV vaccination. These reports include 37,699 reports of nervous system disorders; 2450 cardiac disorders, (including 38 cardiac arrests) 533 reports of Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); over 3200 reports of seizures or epilepsy, 8453 syncope and 389 deaths.

Read more :

Laura H
Laura H10 months ago

I think one must do their homework...

Martin H
Martin Hill10 months ago

Please do your own research before you expose children to this. There are 3 other sites that have a big problem with this vaccine. Try Dr. Merkola for one.