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Gardasil is a cervical cancer vaccine produced by Merck, Inc.[1] According to official product information, “Gardasil is the only cervical cancer vaccine that helps protect against four types of human papillomavirus (HPV): two types that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, and two more types that cause 90 percent of genital warts cases.” The manufacturer states that Gardasil is for girls and young women ages 9 to 26.[2] There have been repeated attempts by Kentucky legislators to introduce legislation making the vaccine mandatory for young women starting in 2006 (read below for more information)


There are a number of concerns questioning the safety of the product which resulted in the product being banned in India.

Side Effects

Common side effects include

  • pain
  • swelling
  • itching
  • brusing and redness at the injection site
  • headache
  • fever
  • vomiting

Other concerns may be signs of an allergic reaction like difficulty breathing, wheezing (bronchospasm), hives and rash. But additional concerns include swollen glands (neck, armpit, or groin), joint pain, unusual tiredness, weakness or confusion, chills, generally feeling unwell, leg pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, aching muscles, muscle weakness, seizure, ad stomach ache, bleeding or bruising more easily than normal and skin infection.


A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that the vaccine may actually increase the risk of HPV when the virus is already present and fails to have a neutralizing effect. "It appears that if the vaccine is given to a young woman who already carries HPV in a "harmless" state, it may "activate" the infection and directly cause precancerous lesions to appear." The vaccine, in other words, may accelerate the development of precancerous lesions in women.[3]

Gardasil in Kentucky

Since 2006 there have been a number of efforts to introduce legislation into the General Assembly making the vaccine mandatory.

H.B. 143 Would require all girls entering middle school to be vaccinated against HPV. Referred to House Committee on Health and Welfare (1/3/07)

H.B. 345 Would require the HPV vaccine for girls entering middle school, but allows parents the right to exempt their child for any reason. Referred to Senate Committee on Appropriations and Revenue (3/1/07)

H.B. 327 Would appropriate $4,116,000 from the general fund to provide the HPV vaccine on a voluntary basis to uninsured females ages nine to 26. House Floor Amendments Filed (3/8/07)

HB 396 Would require immunization against HPV for school-age children; requires parental statements to withhold consent to be filed with the immunization certificate; requires the department to provide educational resources to the public and all schools with specific information; permits parent to withhold consent for immunization for any reason with a signed statement.(Passed House, sent to Senate 2/20/08)

HB 69 Would requires immunization against human papillomavirus for female children and require that parental statements to withhold consent be filed with the immunization certificate. Would also require educational resources to the public and all schools with special information. (In committee 1/29/10)

See Also


  1. Gardasil on
  3. Effect of Human Papillomavirus 16/18 L1 Viruslike Particle Vaccine Among Young Women With Preexisting Infection
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