Medical experts defend controversial HPV vaccine

September 14, 2011 2:02:47 PM PDT
Controversial statements made during the Republican debate are spurring health officials to defend the HPV vaccine.

It all started when Michele Bachmann of Minnesota criticized Texas Governor Rick Perry for mandating that sixth grade girls in his state get the HPV vaccine.

Bachmann later went on television saying the HPV vaccine was unsafe and could cause mental retardation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other health experts say the vaccine is safe and the benefits far outweigh any "rare" risk. They also add that there is no scientific evidence to back Bachmann's statement.

Experts stress side effects of the HPV vaccine tend to be minor and include pain at the injection site, headache, nausea, and fever.

But the National Vaccine Information Center, an anti-vaccine group, disagrees and says, though it may be rare, complications do occur.