Japan puts pro-active communication concerning both cervical cancer vaccines on hold

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The Japanese government withdrew its recommendation to use human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines in girls last week, citing concerns from the public about adverse effects, according to news reports. The announcement is in stark contrast to the pronouncement this week by health officials in the United States that vaccination rates in teenage girls should be increased after a study concluded that estimated vaccine effectiveness is “high.” The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare is not suspending vaccination, but has instructed local governments not to promote the use of the medicine while analyses are conducted about adverse effects, such as cases of complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS).

Cases of complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS) were reported from Japan where over 8 million doses of HPV vaccines have been distributed. CPRS is a painful condition that emerges in a limb usually following trauma. Cases have been reported following injury or surgical procedures. It remains of unknown etiology and may occur in the absence of any documented injury. CPRS following HPV vaccines has received media attention in Japan with 5 reported cases most of which seem not compatible with typical CPRS cases. Review by an expert advisory committee could not ascertain a causal relationship to vaccination given lack of sufficient case information and in many cases could not reach a definitive diagnosis. While these are under investigation, Japan has continued to provide HPV vaccine in their national program. The expert advisory committee requested additional safety data from manufacturers (of the two HPV vaccines: Cervarix and Gardasil) to further review. This outcome led the anti-vaccines group to further aggressively protest against HPV vaccination which was reported widely by the media in Japan.

Japan puts pro-active communication concerning both cervical cancer vaccines on hold

Medscape & World Health Organization

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