School girl dies after HPV jab

By Liz Stephens

A 14-year-old girl died yesterday shortly after receiving a vaccination against cervical cancer.

Natalie Morton, a pupil at the Blue Coat School in Coventry, was given the human papilloma virus (HPV) injection yesterday – the exact cause of death is yet unknown.

The schools’ headteacher, Dr Julie Roberts issued a statement on the school website in which she said the girl has had a “rare but extreme reaction” after receiving the vaccine.

Although there is no proven link yet between her death and the HPV vaccine – NHS Coventry has quarantined the batch of vaccinations.

Spokesperson for NHS Coventry Dr Caron Grainger said: “No link can be made between the death and the vaccine until all the facts are known and a post-mortem takes place.”

“We are conducting an urgent and full investigation into the events surrounding this tragedy,” she said.

GlaxoSmithKline UK, which manufactures the Cervarix vaccine, also offered its sympathies to the girl’s family and friends.

However, questions remain over the vaccine as it was revealed that the UK is the only nation to be using Cervarix, other European nations use a rival brand called Gardasil.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley called for more transparency over the decision.

“The Department of Health and the MHRA need to investigate, as a matter of urgency, what the cause of this is so they can assess how widespread the problem could be,” he said.

Public health minister, Gillian Merron, said: “It is important we have the results of further investigations as soon as possible to establish the cause of this sad event.”

Three other girls from the school also reported possible side effects of dizziness and nausea after receiving the jab.

Cervical cancer currently kills over 1,000 women in Britain every year. The vaccine is to prevent HPV, a sexually transmitted disease which can lead to the cancer.

Since the national immunisation programme was launched last year, 1.4 million schoolgirls aged 12 and over have so far been vaccinated in an attempt to eradicate the virus.