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Human papillomavirus vaccine safety in Australia: experience to date and issues for surveillance

Michael S. Gold A D , Jim Buttery B and Peter McIntyre C

A Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

B SAEFVIC, Department of General Medicine, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Monash Children’s Hospital, Monash University, Melbourne, Parkville, Vic 3052, Australia.

C The National Centre for Immunisation Research, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 7(3) 320-324
Submitted: 29 December 2009  Accepted: 23 March 2010   Published: 19 August 2010


Australia was one of the first countries to licence a quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, rapidly followed by a federally funded program of universal vaccination of a broad age group of females through schools (12 to 18 years) and primary care (19 to 26 years). As of August 2009, more than 5.8 million doses of Gardasil® (quadrivalent; Merck, New Jersey, USA) have been distributed in Australia and a total of 1394 suspected adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) have been reported to the passive surveillance system. Most reports are of common and expected reactions. Case series of more uncommon and serious AEFI, both known to be potentially vaccine related (anaphylaxis, conversion disorders and lipoatrophy) and otherwise (multiple sclerosis and pancreatitis) have been published.

Additional keywords: adverse events following immunisations, HPV vaccine, vaccine safety.


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