No Link Between Human Papillomavirus Vaccine and Autonomic Dysfunction Syndromes

by Lauren Taylor from In The Cloud Copy

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been being administered to teens and young adults worldwide for over a decade now. It has met with great success as it’s said to prevent some cancers, but some parents and patients are hesitant to receive the vaccine, as they fear the possibility of side effects. In particular, there have been rumors of links between the HPV vaccine and autonomic dysfunction syndromes such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and complex regional pain syndrome.

A study was conducted in Denmark to assess whether there was any validity to the claims of a link between vaccination and any of the above-mentioned conditions. Denmark was chosen as the place of a study due to their nationwide registers giving easy access to those who have and have not been vaccinated.

Study Methods

A study cohort was developed containing all female participants that were Danish born and aged between 10-44 years of age in the time period of 2007 to 2016. HPV vaccine status was also included as well as diagnosis or possible diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome. This study was ultimately conducted due to concern from the public about the safety of this vaccination.

Study Results

The study found that 529,547 females were given at least a single dose of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine. The median age the vaccine was given was 12.6 years for girls in the age range of 10-17, and 24.3 years for the females in the age range of 18-44. The three mentioned syndromes were observed in 869 of the study participants, which equates to an 8.21 per 100,000-person incidence rate. The most commonly seen syndrome was the complex regional pain syndrome, with 535 participants reporting, followed by 198 participants with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome affecting 136.

An increase in incidence rates was observed for all syndromes throughout the period of study and was especially prominent for the postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. All of the syndromes saw the highest incidence rates in girls that fall in the adolescent age range. While the postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome incidence declined considerably with age, the other two syndromes showed a marginal increase with age. In girls aged 10-17, the median age that diagnosis was made was 14.0 years, while the median age of diagnosis was 33.3 years in the age range of 18-44.


It does not appear that there is any notable association between the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination and diagnosis rates of orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Other such studies have been conducted analyzing for any association between the HPV vaccination and syndromes with autonomic dysfunction. Studies in Finland, the UK, and Norway have found no association between the vaccination and these syndromes. After reviewing the study results, researchers concluded that the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine is safe for adolescent girls as well as the female adult population who may need catch-up vaccination. While all studies are limited, the statistical power of this study gives researchers confidence in saying there is an unlikely risk between vaccination and development of any of the above mentioned syndromes.

Learn more about this study here.

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