Study Suggests HPV Vaccine Is Safe, but Doctors Wary

The Gardasil vaccine appears to be safe, but doctors are not ready to mandate immunization

Jessica Rinaldi / Landov / Reuters

A nurse administers a shot of Gardasil — a vaccine for HPV, or human papillomavirus — to a 14-year-old patient

Generally the fact that a vaccine appears to be as safe as the manufacturer had promised shouldn't be news. It should be a given. But when it comes to the controversial vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), even the most straightforward data come with an asterisk.

The vaccine, called Gardasil and manufactured by Merck, is one of the first immunizations to protect against a cancer — in this case, cervical cancer, which is most commonly caused by infection with HPV. Because the virus is sexually transmitted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended in 2006 that...

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