(NaturalNews) The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has reported that two young women died shortly after receiving Merck's Gardasil, a vaccine against several varieties of human papillomavirus (HPV).
Gardasil and Glaxo SmithKline's Cervarix protect against the two strains of HPV that are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Gardasil also protects against two HPV strains that cause 90 percent of genital warts.
The EMEA did not release the names or ages of the women who died, and said the cause of death was still unknown. It described their deaths as "sudden and unexpected."
"In both cases, the cause of death could not be identified. No causal relationship has been established between the deaths of the young women and the administration of Gardasil," the agency said.
The recent deaths mark the fourth and fifth to occur shortly following vaccination with Gardasil and the first in Europe. Previously, three young women, aged 12, 19 and 22, died in the United States within days after receiving a Gardasil shot. In addition, 1,700 cases have been reported of patients suffering non-lethal adverse reactions.
Health officials believe that adverse effects of medication are widely underreported.
Starting in September, the United Kingdom's Department of Health is launching a yearlong campaign to vaccinate British girls between the ages of 11 and 13 with one of the HPV vaccines. The program is expected to prevent 1,000 cervical cancer deaths per year, the department says.
In response to the EMEA's announcement, the Department of Health said it had no plans to reconsider the program or change its advice on vaccination against HPV.
An estimated 1.5 million people in Europe have already received an HPV vaccine.
In the United States, three states have passed laws mandating HPV vaccines for school-age girls, and 38 others have considered similar laws.
Mandatory vaccination has been opposed by the American College of Pediatrics and the New England Journal of Medicine.