HPV Vaccine Side Effects Not Serious in Young Women

Younger girls more likely to report side effects; are less aware of HPV link to cervical cancer

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Younger girls are more likely than adult women to report side effects after receiving the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV4; Gardasil) vaccine, but the side effects are non-serious, according to a study published online Jan. 9 in the Journal of Women's Health.

Allison L. Naleway, Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., and colleagues collected and analyzed survey and electronic medical record data for 899 young women (aged 11 to 26) receiving their first HPV4 injection. The survey included questions about adverse events, interactions with health care providers, and knowledge and attitudes toward HPV disease and HPV4.

The researchers found that 696 participants (78 percent) reported pain at the injection site. Other common reactions were injection site bruising or discoloration (17 percent) or swelling (14 percent) and presyncope or syncope (15 percent). Compared to adult participants, preteens and teens were more likely to report adverse events associated with the vaccine. Most respondents, particularly in the adult age group, reported that their health care provider reviewed important information about HPV infection, including the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine. Knowledge and attitudes about HPV and HPV4 varied by age, with older women generally exhibiting more accurate knowledge about HPV and beliefs about susceptibility to cervical cancer.

"There were significant age differences in young women's experiences with their first HPV4 injection," the authors conclude. "These findings highlight the importance of age-appropriate education and provider communications about HPV disease and vaccination."

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