Hundreds of Colombian girls hospitalized after vaccinations

World Today

A mystery illness has rocked a remote town in Colombia. More than 200 girls have been hospitalized after receiving shots of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, called Gardasil. Colombian health officials and the Colombia’s President have denied accusations over the vaccine. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos has dismissed reports that the vaccine Gardasil is causing a mystery illness in the Colombian town called “Carmen de Bolivar.”

Since May, more than 240 girls have reported headaches, fainting and numbness in the hands after vaccination. Their parents said that the girls, ranging in ages from 9 to 16, were recently injected with Gardasil-a vaccine to against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which has been linked to cervical cancer.

In 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published data showing over a two year period, adolescent girls and women between the ages of 9 to 26 injected with the vaccine reported nausea, headaches and autoimmune disorders, whose symptoms include numbness and dizziness. The CDC also cited reports of 32 patient deaths occurring after receiving Gardasil.

An accompanying article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association questioned the benefits of the vaccine versus the risks noting that medical knowledge is “typically incomplete and ambiguous.”

At the time, the vaccine manufacturer said that many of the adverse reaction reports were “unconfirmed” and “unrelated to the vaccine.”

President Santos said scientist’s have several theories to explain these reports, including mass hysteria.

Colombian psychologists and physicians were sent to the town, where the town’s limited medical facilities were overwhelmed by the number of sick girls. On Monday, the Minister of Health and Social Protection is expected to travel to the town.