Two Wisconsin sisters say a vaccine against HPV shut down their ovaries, likely preventing them from ever becoming pregnant.
Madelyne Meylor, 20, and Olivia Meylor, 19, were the first to say the vaccine against human papillomavirus had caused the condition in a claim filed through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
The vaccine injury program has awarded payments totaling at least $5.9 million for HPV vaccine injuries in 68 cases, according to the federal government and the conservative legal foundation Judicial Watch.
The program has dismissed 63 claims, and 81 claims are pending.
Physicians recommend three doses of the vaccine against HPV, a sexually transmitted virus, for girls and boys ages 11 and 12 to protect against cervical cancer, throat cancer, genital warts and other conditions.
About 22,000 adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine, which is marketed under the names Gardisil and Cervarix, were reported nationally between June 2006 and March 2013.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 92 percent of those reactions weren’t serious – including fainting, dizziness and nausea.
A 2011 study found that certain serious reactions – including seizures, strokes and the autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome – were no more common among HPV vaccine recipients than those who hadn’t been vaccinated.
The Meylor sisters said their Gardasil shots caused their ovaries to stop producing eggs and started premature menopause.
The women also said they suffer from insomnia, night sweats and headaches.
According to a brief filed in the case, Madelyne Meylor, a University of Wisconsin-Madison junior, had her first menstrual period at 13, several months before her first dose of HPV vaccine.
Her periods became increasingly irregular after a second dose and stopped altogether after her third dose, at age 15.
She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure the following year.
Her sister, Olivia, a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, received three doses of the HPV vaccine before her first period started at age 15.
She had just one more period the next month, and was also diagnosed at age 16 with premature ovarian failure.
Three possible genetic causes for the condition were ruled out for both women.
Neither will likely ever be able to become pregnant, although they could carry a fetus through infertility treatments, and they must take birth control pills or use patches for hormone replacement therapy.
Merck, which makes Gardasil, refers to the condition as premature ovarian insufficiency, or POI, and argues that evidence does not find a link between the condition and the vaccine.
But an Israeli physician, Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld, will testify at their hearings, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, that adjuvants found in the HPV vaccine had triggered an autoimmune disease that caused the Meylors’ condition.
The government will argue that the Meylors have typical premature ovarian failure unrelated to the HPV vaccine, according to U.S. Department of Justice briefs filed in both cases.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]