Waukesha girl dies hours after getting HPV vaccine

01/07/2015 12:18


Waukesha girl dies hours after getting HPV vaccine

UPDATED 7:43 PM CDT Aug 08, 2014
WAUKESHA, Wis. —As parents get their children ready to go back to school, getting them vaccinated is probably on the list.

A popular shot for young girls is the HPV vaccine, but a Waukesha mother said her daughter died hours after getting the shot.

Rebecca Prohaska's struggling to get through every second of every day after her 12-year-old daughter Meredith unexpectedly died a week ago.

Prohaska said hours after getting checked for a sore throat and getting her first dose of the HPV vaccine, Meredith died.

"She had just thrown up, and I found her on the floor, right as I walked in," Prohaska said.

The human papilloma virus is spread through sexual contact, common with teenagers, and can cause cervical cancer.

"Who doesn't want to keep their child from harm and keep them safe, and this was a preventative measure," Prohaska said.

She doesn't know what killed her daughter. Prohaska said they're looking into asthma or a possible allergic reaction to the shot.

"It's very rare, but it does happen," Prohaska said.

WISN 12 News asked Dr. Geoffrey Swain with the Milwaukee Health Department how rare a death from HPV really is.

"The likelihood of a serious or life-threatening complication from HPV vaccine, or any other vaccine, (is) very, very rare, in the order of about one in a million," Swain said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all 11- and 12-year-old girls get the vaccine. It's the only vaccine that can prevent cancer, and every year, 4,000 women die of cervical cancer. 

Prohaska said it's hard not knowing why her daughter died but even harder knowing she's no longer here.

"She always made us laugh, and I don't get to see that smile or that laugh again," Prohaska said.

The CDC said between June 2006 and 2014, there have been 96 deaths reported after getting the HPV vaccine, Gardasil vaccine. 

Only 47 deaths could be verified because there was not enough information reported.

A detailed review revealed there is no pattern of death. There is no consistent vaccine dose number or combination of vaccines given.

There is no diagnosis at death that would suggest the vaccine caused the death.