News: HPV vaccine linked to anaphylaxis risk

October 1, 2008

While the risk of anapylaxis was higher in a HPV vaccine program compared to a similar one for meningococcal vaccine, HPV vaccine is remarkably safe.

While the risk of anaphylaxis was higher in a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program compared to a similar program for meningococcal vaccination, HPV vaccination is remarkably safe, according to an article published online Sept. 1 in CMAJ, the Canadian Medical Journal.

Julia M.L. Brotherton, MD, of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Westmead, New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues examined whether seven presumptive cases of anaphylaxis following HPV vaccination in the state of New South Wales, Australia, was similar to the incidence of anaphylaxis of other vaccines in similar settings. A multidisciplinary team contacted all affected patients to determine if the case definition of anaphylaxis was met and skin testing was also performed in some patients.

Overall, in 12 suspected cases, eight were classified as anaphylaxis and four suspected cases had negative skin-prick evaluations to the HPV vaccine, the researchers report. The 269,680 HPV vaccinations resulted in seven cases of anaphylaxis for an incidence of 2.6 cases per 100,000 doses compared to an incidence of 0.1 per 100,000 doses for conjugated meningococcal C vaccination in the 2003 school-based program.

Brotherton JM, Gold MS, Kemp AS, et al. Anaphylaxis following quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination. CMAJ. 2008;179: 525-533.