A cross-sectional study of the relationship between reported human papillomavirus vaccine exposure and the incidence of reported asthma in the United States

SAGE Open Med. 2019 Jan 8;7:2050312118822650. doi: 10.1177/2050312118822650. eCollection 2019.


Objectives: Asthma is a chronic disorder that affects persons of all ages impacting the quality of their lives. This cross-sectional hypothesis-testing study evaluated the relationship between human papillomavirus vaccine and the risk of an incident asthma diagnosis in a defined temporal period post-vaccination.

Methods: The 2015-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data were examined for a group of 60,934,237 weighted persons between 9 and 26 years old in Statistical Analysis Software.

Results: Reported incident asthma significantly clustered in the year of reported human papillomavirus vaccination. When the data were separated by gender, the effects observed remained significant for males but not females.

Conclusion: The results suggest that human papillomavirus vaccination resulted in an excess of 261,475 asthma cases with an estimated direct excess lifetime cost of such persons being US$42 billion. However, it is unclear what part of the vaccine and/or vaccine medium may have increased an individual's susceptibility to an asthma episode, whether the asthma diagnosis represented one asthma episode or if it is chronic, and how much therapeutic support was needed (if any) and for how long, which would impact cost. Despite the negative findings in this study, routine vaccination is an important public health tool, and the results observed need to be viewed in this context.

Keywords: Asthma; Cervarix; Gardasil; National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; human papillomavirus.