Booster Shots

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British Cervarix vaccinations to resume

September 30, 2009 | 11:27 am

British media are reporting that vaccinations with the human papilloma virus vaccine Cervarix will resume immediately after an autopsy showed that 14-year-old Natalie Morton died from a serious underlying medical condition and that the death had nothing to do with the vaccine. Morton collapsed shortly after the vaccination earlier this week and died within hours.

The coroner did not reveal what the underlying condition was, but noted that "it is an extremely rare health problem for a girl of Natalie's age to suffer."

Natalie's stepfather, Andrew Bullock, told authorities that she had been feeling sick for "some time" before the immunization and that the family now believed that the vaccine did not cause her death. She had not been hospitalized for the illness, but had been seeing doctors and was taking medications for it.

GlaxoSmithKline recalled the lot of the vaccine, which protects against the virus that causes cervical cancer, as a proactive measure to ensure that there was no problem with it. The ensuing shortage may delay the immunization program until new supplies of the vaccine can be obtained.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II