HPV Vaccine: Is It Safe? Doctors Answer Your Questions

Dr. Timothy Johnson and other physicians address your concerns.

ByABC News
August 19, 2009, 4:43 PM

Aug. 19, 2009— -- On Tuesday, ABC News' Chief Medical Editor Dr. Timothy Johnson wrote a blog entry that appeared on the World Newser about a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the benefits and risks of Gardasil, the Merck vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV).

While side effects from the vaccine appear to be rare, the shot has been associated with effects ranging from fainting and nausea to life-threatening blood clots and other more severe complications.

In his entry, Johnson noted that he could not recommend that all girls and young women in the eligible age range for the shot get vaccinated based on what researchers currently know about the vaccine's risk profile.

The entry garnered a strong response from our audiences, as evidenced by the many questions that appeared on the comment boards following his post. Below, Johnson and other medical experts address some of the most commonly asked questions in response to the comments on the World Newser blog:

1) What should parents do if they have already had their daughters vaccinated?

For now, Johnson said, there is little that parents should be doing if their daughters have already received the HPV vaccine.

"They can't do anything about it now, and they should pay attention to any side effects symptoms that might show up," Johnson said, adding that there is no research yet that has suggested a point in time after which side effects will not arise. "Fortunately, the numbers in terms of incidence of these side effects appear very low, so parents should not worry unless something happens."