'Cervical cancer vaccine gave my child brain disease'

Ivanka has been battling serious illness after receiving the HPV vaccine.Picture: Jason Boud

Ivanka has been battling serious illness after receiving the HPV vaccine.Picture: Jason Boud

Published Apr 24, 2017


Cape Town – A ten-year-old Kraaifontein pupil has been battling serious illness after being vaccinated at school against cervical cancer.

Doctors believe it is the first known case of “HPV vaccine associated encephalopathy” in the Western Cape.

Nino Nortier said he and his wife had signed the integrated school health programme consent form given at his daughter Ivanka’s school from the departments of Health and Basic Education which stated that the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programme aims to reduce the number of cervical cancer cases.

The form also stated that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease which researchers have found to be the leading cause of cervical cancer.

As a preventative measure, the HPV vaccine, Cervarix, would be administered to Grade 4 girls, nine years and older, during March/April and September/October, the department said .

“My daughter received her vaccination at school in April."

“Towards the end of July, the school phoned to say that she had collapsed. And from then, she did not attend school for the rest of the year."

“She was more in hospital and at home. Three doctors tried to find a treatment for her but there was no reaction to any medication they prescribed."

“It started with severe body pains, from the head all the way down to the toes, fingers, arms and legs. For about three months she could not walk on her own." 

“She couldn’t speak, felt dizzy and she did not eat. And it was quick, she went to school in the morning and by twelve o’clock she was ill.”

“Only once world-renowned paediatrician Professor Pieter Fourie examined her, and three MRIs, a brain biopsy, full blood tests and a lumbar puncture came back clean did he find out what was wrong with Ivanka,” said Nortier.

Professor Fourie’s report concluded that Ivanka “presented with a very rare neurological ‘pseudo’ encephalitis type syndrome” over a 12-week period that affected her cognitive, consciousness level and motor co-ordination. A very slow progressive recovery has been noted after two intravenous immunoglobulin dosages. A possible etiology of post HPV vaccination is suggested,” said Fourie.

Nortier contended that parents had the right to make informed choices and the consent form did not list what the side effects of the vaccine are.

“The form only listed swollen arms and feet, the normal symptoms after a vaccination. Our main concern is that improper consent forms were given and not all factors were disclosed. We found out later that the vaccine contains aluminium oxide which is a neuro-toxin,” said Nortier

Western Cape health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said he would request the department’s school health services to include “information on side-effects”.

National Basic Education Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said they had received no complaints about girls who had fallen ill after the vaccination nor had they received requests for contra-indications to be listed.

Cape Argus

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