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Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

No issues with teen's Gardasil, says MedSafe

Rhonda Renata. Photo / Greg Bowker
Rhonda Renata. Photo / Greg Bowker

Medicine safety authority MedSafe says there were no manufacturing problems with the cervical cancer vaccination batch given to a Wellington teenager.

Jasmine Renata's parents have blamed Gardasil for causing her death in September, 2009. The 18-year-old had received the last of three injections of Gardasil six months earlier.

At an inquest in Wellington yesterday before coroner Ian Smith, Rhonda Renata said her daughter was fit, rarely got sick, didn't smoke and rarely drank alcohol.

But after her first Gardasil dose in September 2008, she developed pains in various parts of her body, suffered a racing heart beat, weak arms, tingling in her hands and legs, and became tired and irritable.

Her hair started falling out and she was sleeping as much as possible.

"[Husband] Joe and I believe the vaccine that Jasmine had been given contributed to her death. The year she received the vaccine she had never complained so much about her mental or physical state," she told the inquest.

Medsafe medical adviser Stewart Jessamine said the batch of vaccine that had been given to Ms Renata was tested after her death, but no issues with it had been found.

He said it was more likely that the symptoms she was experiencing related to the contraceptive Depo-Provera, which she had been using since she was about 14.

Ms Renata's father asked Dr Jessamine if there was enough information about Gardasil for parents to make an informed decision on whether their children should be vaccinated. Dr Jessamine said he believed there was.

Mrs Renata said her daughter had complained of chest pains and a racing heart in the weeks before her death, but they "just put it down to something like anxiety or adrenalin".

The nurse who had given the injections, Patricia Ryan, said following the third injection she noted Ms Renata said she was well, and she had no concerns.

Coroner Smith asked Ms Ryan if there was anything that could have indicated Ms Renata was having trouble stemming from the injections.

Ms Ryan said there was nothing.

Cardiology expert Katherine Neas said the symptoms signalled there was probably a problem with her heart.

She said there was no way her parents could have known there might have been a cardiac problem.

- APNZ

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