An urgent probe was underway in the UK today into why a 14-year-old girl died shortly after being given a cervical cancer vaccine.
Natalie Morton died yesterday in hospital shortly after receiving the HPV1 Cervarix jab at the Blue Coat Church of England School in Coventry.
She apparently suffered a “rare but extreme reaction” after being given the injection, with a number of other girls also suffering dizziness and nausea and being sent home.
A spokeswoman for the Coventry coroner’s office said it had been informed of Natalie’s death and was awaiting the results of post mortem tests.
Health bosses in the city have launched an immediate investigation into the death, also quarantining the batch of Cervarix allocated to the school as a “precautionary measure”.
The HPV vaccine protects against two strains of human papillomavirus that cause more than 70% of cases of cervical cancer in women.
The NHS started the immunisation programme in September last year, offering vaccines to girls aged 12 and 13 and to 17 and 18-year-old girls.
A catch-up programme was also announced at the time with 13 to 18-year-old girls offered the vaccine over the following two academic years.
In December, the programme was extended so that all girls born on or after September 1 1990 could be protected before the end of the academic year 2009/10.
Vaccination is not compulsory and consent is required before it is administered to under-16s.
According to the NHS, Cervarix, the HPV vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline which was selected for the national immunisation programme, underwent “rigorous safety testing” as part of the licensing process.
Dr Pim Kon, medical director at GlaxoSmithKline UK, said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the young girl.
“We are working with the Department of Health and MHRA to better understand this case, as at this stage the exact cause of this tragic death is unknown.
“As a precautionary measure, the batch of vaccine involved has been quarantined until the situation is fully understood.”