Doctors in the US are expecting more parents to refuse Merck’s human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, after presidential candidate Michele Bachmann publically suggested it was dangerous.

Physicians have defended the vaccine, which works to prevent HPV, linked to the cause of cervical and vulva cancer in some women.

Dr Kenneth Alexander, a paediatric infectious disease expert at the University of Chicago Medical Center, said, “There are people out there who, because of this kind of misinformation, aren’t going to get their daughter immunised.

“As a result, there will be more people who die from cervical cancer, Alexander added.

Earlier this week, Merck rejected claims by Bachmann that its HPV vaccine Gardasil could cause mental retardation in children.

In a public debate Bachmann criticised Texas Governor Rick Perry – whom she is running against for the Republican nomination – for making an executive order four years ago requiring girls in the state to be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus, which can lead to cervical and vulva cancer.

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By GlobalData

She told the Today programme, “I had a mother last night come up to me here in Florida after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. It can have very dangerous side effects.”

Merck responded in a statement, “The efficacy and safety of Gardasil was established in clinical trials in thousands of patients. Since its approval in 2006, the vaccine has been given to millions of girls around the world. Merck remains strongly committed to preventing cervical cancer.”