Social media posts cast doubt on HPV vaccine safety

Several social media posts in English and Spanish shared an article from a well-known anti-vaccine website saying that a study conducted in Colombia links the HPV vaccine to rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. One of the posts quotes an anti-vaccine activist saying that the study findings deserve “more comprehensive investigation towards a decision whether to pull the vaccine entirely.”

Recommendation: These types of posts may discourage patients from getting the HPV vaccine or from vaccinating their children against HPV. Debunking messaging may emphasize that hundreds of millions of doses of the HPV vaccine have been administered around the world with no serious safety concerns. Additionally, several studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is not linked to autoimmune disorders. The authors of the recent Colombian study stated that its results “should be interpreted with caution and be further studied, considering that the biological plausibility of the events occurred without a clear temporal pattern in relation to the exposure to the vaccine.” The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for adolescents of any gender ages 11 to 12, but anyone between the ages of 9 and 45 can receive it.