Nicole El-Safty, of Clacton, Essex, was given the controversial Gardasil jab
A 17-year-old girl claims she has been left paralysed after she was given the HPV jab.
Nicole El-Safty, of Clacton, Essex, said she became ‘totally motionless and unable to move’ just months after being given the Gardasil vaccine.
The aspiring dancer has been forced to give up her hobby because of the side-effects from the jab, dished out for free to teenage girls by the NHS.
Her story echoes concerns raised by thousands of girls across the world, who say they have suffered adverse reactions to the jab, with two other British girls having come forward last year to reveal they were also left paralysed.
However, health officials across the globe strongly deny there are such devastating effects and warn there is not enough evidence to suggest a link. Known side effects include headaches, fever and nausea.
Studies have repeatedly shown that the vaccine is effective in protecting against HPV, which can lead to several forms of cancer, including cervical, anal and throat.
Extensive reviews by various authorities have concluded the life-saving jab is safe and estimates state it saves thousands of lives in the UK and US each year.
UK campaigners have been up in arms in recent years because the jab is only given to girls between the ages of 12 and 18 on the NHS under a scheme rolled out in 2008 – despite boys also being at risk of HPV. In the US, it is also dished out to young boys.
Speaking of her ordeal for the first time, Miss El-Safty told MailOnline: ‘I went from being completely fit and healthy in every way to totally motionless, unable to move.
‘It was one day when I spotted a headline on TV about the affects of the HPV virus that alarm bells rang.’
‘I had all the symptoms, including heart problems, severe ulcers and paralysis. Then finding out that infertility was also likely.’
‘Whilst legally my GP couldn’t confirm that my suspicions were right, many medics gave me the nod. A standard jab had disabled me for life.
‘I still keep up my work in local politics and I study law but my main aim is to warn other girls about the jab. It’s dangerous and terrifying.’
Miss El-Safty, now 22, had been a competitive dancer since she was a child – and spent 18 hours each week practicing.
When did her side effects begin?
But in March 2014, just months after being given the Gardasil jab as part of the NHS scheme, she was left bed-bound and helpless, suffering chronic pain. She wasn’t told of any risks.
She added: ‘I went back and forth to hospital where after many months of having no idea what had caused my sudden problems, I was diagnosed with sciatic arthritis.
Miss El-Safty became ‘totally motionless and unable to move’ just months after being given the under-fire vaccine, she claims
‘But it didn’t make sense. I was agile and danced every night but I had to believe that the doctors knew what they were talking about.
‘My gut instinct told me that something wasn’t right. I felt so low. I barely went out and had to rely on my mum Charlotte for everything.’
Staying at home
Miss El-Safty revealed that other than occasional meetings with her local political party she ‘stayed at home’ the entire time.
This is where she met her boyfriend, Matt, 29. He has since become her ‘biggest support’.
But while Miss El-Safty personal life brought her happiness, her health detriorated further.
She said: ‘Weeks later, the left side of my face dropped drastically – and things just got even worse.
‘The pain spread down my left arm and all down my back. My face looked like I had had a stroke. It was terrifying.’
WHAT IS HPV? THE INFECTION LINKED TO 99% OF CERVICAL CANCER CASES
Up to eight out of 10 people will be infected with HPV in their lives
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes lining your body.
Spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex and skin-to-skin contact between genitals, it is extremely common.
Up to eight out of 10 people will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives, according to Cancer Research UK.
There are more than 100 types of HPV. Around 30 of which can affect the genital area. Genital HPV infections are common and highly contagious.
Many people never show symptoms, as they can arise years after infection, and the majority of cases go away without treatment.
It can lead to genital warts, and is also known to cause cervical cancer by creating an abnormal tissue growth.
Annually, an average of 38,000 cases of HPV-related cancers are diagnosed in the US, 3,100 cases of cervical cancer in the UK and around 2,000 other cancers in men.
HPV can also cause cancers of the throat, neck, tongue, tonsils, vulva, vagina, penis or anus. It can take years for cancer to develop.
Speaking of her ordeal for the first time, Miss El-Safty told MailOnline: ‘I went from being completely fit and healthy in every way to totally motionless, unable to move’
Miss El-Safty, now 22, had been a competitive dancer since she was a child – and spent 18 hours each week practicing
With her life having changed completely, Miss El-Safty gave up the things she loved.
Having been set to dance professionally, usually dancing 18 hours a week in training, she found herself in 24-hour pain and temporarily in a wheelchair.
What side effects did she have?
Her symptoms graduated to severe gastric issues, hernias, mouth ulcers and memory loss – none of which were symptomatic of her initial diagnosis of arthritis.
It was from her bed one morning, while watching someone talk about the HPV jab on the news, that she put everything into place.
Miss El-Safty, who has now started studying law, added: ‘I was in bed watching TV when I heard someone talking about the HPV jab.
‘It said that many teenagers were having drastic reactions to the injection’s ingredients.
‘When the list of possible symptoms were read out, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
‘I knew it would be hard to prove that this is what had happened to me, but every single thing fell into place.’
IS THE HPV JAB SAFE? HOW THE CONTROVERSY HAS LED TO A DROP IN VACCINATION RATES
WHO IS GIVEN THE JAB?
All girls aged between 12 and 18 are are offered a free vaccination against HPV by the NHS to help protect them against cervical cancer under a programme launched by UK health officials in 2008. However, boys aren’t given the jab.
In the US, the CDC recommends for all children to receive the vaccine, which was approved by the FDA in 2010, between the ages of nine and 12. Catch-up jabs are then available for men up to the age of 21 and women up to 26.
It’s estimated that about 400 lives could be saved every year in the UK as a result of vaccinating girls – while around 30,000 cases of cancer could be avoided in the US each year with the jab, according to figures.
WAVE OF ALLEGATIONS
However, a wave of allegations over the controversial HPV jab has caused vaccine rates to plummet to as low as 1 per cent in some countries.
Anti-vaccine campaigners have the slump, which has badly affected Japan, which had a vaccine rate of 70 per cent just four years ago.
They have posted hundreds of unsourced videos online featuring girls in wheelchairs that they claim have been disabled by the jab.
The downturn in vaccination rates came after an allegedly fake study on mice linked the vaccine to neurological issues.
A wave of allegations over the controversial HPV jab has caused vaccine rates to plummet to as low as 1 per cent in some countries
However, the world’s leading health officials have repeatedly slammed anti-vaxxers for ‘promoting pseudoscience’.
Government authorities agree there is no evidence to support a link between HPV vaccination and chronic illnesses.
The World Health Organisation, CDC, Public Health England and the European Medicines Regulator have ‘extensively reviewed the vaccine’s safety’.
They concluded there is ‘no credible evidence of a link between the HPV vaccine and a range of chronic illnesses’.
They warn the vaccine has been proven to be safe in more than 10 years of studies, and it is essential for preventing dozens of HPV-linked cancers.
And last year, the revered John Maddox prize for ‘sense about science’ was awarded to a Japanese researcher who debunked the jab claims.
HOW MANY SIDE EFFECTS HAVE THERE BEEN?
English health officials received 3,972 ‘yellow cards’ – warnings of side effects – between 2010 and 2013 for the controversial HPV jab Gardasil.
In Europe, 11,867 reactions to Gardasil have been recorded up to February 2017, according to The European Medicines Agency.
Many report symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, and cases of girls being left paralysed are rare. Fatalities have occurred, reports also showed.
Having been set to dance professionally, usually dancing 18 hours a week in training, she found herself in 24-hour pain and in a wheelchair
Miss El-Safty is pictured seven months after being given the jab trying to stand up using a walking stick. The NHS states that paralysis can ‘come and go’
THE 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL LEFT PARALYSED BY THE HPV VACCINE
Ruby Shallom suffered spasms and pain
A 16-year-old British girl was left paralysed in three limbs after having the HPV jab, it was claimed last year.
Back in 2014, Ruby Shallom from Bracknell, Berkshire, was vaccinated at school to protect her against cervical cancer as part of the routine NHS programme.
In a controversial documentary she said: ‘The only limb that works now is my left arm… I still go out and see my friends but the pain and fatigue makes it hard.’
Weeks after having the vaccine, the keen horse-rider and runner started to suffer from stomach spasms, dizziness, pain, headaches and fatigue.
Her muscles became weaker and in May 2016 – two years after she was given the jab – she woke up with no feelings in her legs whatsoever.
She is now virtually bed bound – unable to eat, lift or dress herself, incontinent and often too weak to lift her head.
Doctors have been unable to diagnose her with anything and have dismissed it as being psychological, refusing to acknowledge any link to the jab.
Miss El-Safty is now the member of an online support group called HPV daughters for other women like her.
Wanting to raise awareness
She said: ‘I’m the ambassador for the group in Essex. It can be a huge relief to be able to talk about things that no-one else understands.
‘Whilst I would never tell a parent what decision to make about their own child, I can’t help want to urge parents to think twice before they let their daughters have the immunisation.
‘There is information out there, and whilst side effects aren’t always as severe as main – many girls go on to experience them.
‘If one parent reads this and it creates awareness about what could occur, then I’m glad I spoke about what my life has become now.’
From the age of 12 up until their 18th birthday, all girls in the UK can get the HPV vaccine free on the NHS.
Gardasil protects against two types of HPV, which are responsible for more than 70 per cent of cervical cancers in the UK.
It’s estimated that about 400 lives could be saved every year in the UK as a result of vaccinating girls before they are infected with HPV.
THE 15-YEAR-OLD DANCER LEFT PARALYSED BY THE HPV JAB
Lucy Rebbeck was confined to a wheelchair for six months
A 15-year-old dancer was also left paralysed after having the HPV jab, her parents claimed, MailOnline reported last year.
Lucy Rebbeck, from Wokingham, Buckinghamshire, was confined to a wheelchair for six months because her muscles were so weak.
She fell ill with similar symptoms in autumn 2014 and was treated at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.
Doctors diagnosed her with coeliac disease and later removed her appendix – but nothing helped.
Her mother, Diane, 47, said at the time: ‘Her legs were getting weaker and weaker.
‘They would just buckle and give way and in February she went downhill very rapidly.
‘She couldn’t feel them at all and within two weeks they gradually went more and more numb.
‘She was in a wheelchair for six months and was having to shuffle up the stairs on her bottom.’