Schoolgirls should stop being given a vaccine which helps protect them from cervical cancer until a "proper investigation" is held into side effects, a campaigner has insisted.

Freda Birrell, of UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters (AHVID), called for a moratorium on the use of the controversial HPV vaccine until more is known about "serious adverse reactions".

She made the plea as she called for the Scottish Government to hold a roundtable discussion on the safety of the vaccine, involving medical and scientific experts from both sides of the debate.

Members of Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee agreed to ask ministers for their view on this, although committee convener Michael McMahon expressed some reservations about the petition.

Mr McMahon said while Ms Birrell had "raised a lot of very important issues", he added he was unsure about what would be resolved by holding a roundtable discussion.

"I'm not quite sure how we can take this petition forward on the basis that all you are asking for is a roundtable discussion," he said.

But Ms Birrell said the point of having roundtable talks was so "you people can ask for the science" about the safety of HPV vaccines.

"Where is the science that will show there is no harm to the child?" she asked.

"That is why we asked for a roundtable so questions can be asked openly and they could be asked for that science - they will ignore us but they will not ignore you."

The campaigner told MSPs on the committee: "I have never asked for a ban on the HPV vaccines, I know it's a huge thing to do that.

"What I am asking, if it was possible for a moratorium so a proper investigation could take place to determine why certain young people are having serious adverse reactions and these serious adverse reactions are lasting for many years."

She said AHVID, which was set up earlier this year, represented those "who have had their lives turned upside down after HPV vaccine".

It has 208 members, including 15% who are in Scotland, but Ms Birrell said: "We don't know how many others are out there but for now there appears to be no end in sight."

In July the European Medicines Agency began a specific review to clarify the safety profile of HPV, with AHVID currently compiling a submission to this.

Ms Birrell said: "Of the 88 family reports analysed so far 68% reported their daughters had experienced health problems serious enough to interfere with their education, 24% reported symptoms so severe that their daughter could no longer participate in educational activities, 70% required help with daily care and a full 91% reported being told their daughter's medical conditions were psychological in origin."

She added: "I am very much aware HPV vaccines are a controversial issue and that this information put's Scotland at a cross roads with a very difficult decision to make.

"Do we accept what the manufacturer and their list of experts are saying and assume that HPV vaccines are safe and effective and there just happens to be an epidemic of psychosomatic disorders spreading round the world, affecting certain young people who have one thing in common - they were injected with the HPV vaccine.

"Or do we listen to experts from both sides, to try to discover exactly what the situation is and make every effort we can to get the problem solved?"

Sanofi Pasteur MSD which produces the HPV vaccine Gardasil said: The safety of our vaccines is of the utmost importance to us; our vaccines adhere to strict testing procedures to assess their quality, efficacy and safety before being administered to the public.

"Furthermore, an on-going assessment involving our company, health authorities and regulatory agencies at both national and international levels takes place to continuously evaluate the safety profile of our vaccines.

"We welcome any rigorous, scientifically based evaluation of the safety and efficacy of vaccines in general."

GlaxoSmithKline which markets the Cervarix HPV vaccine said: "It is GSK’s practice to monitor and routinely investigate and analyse all available safety data both from marketed use and from clinical studies for all its medicines and vaccines.

"More than 55 million doses of Cervarix have been distributed worldwide since its first market introduction in 2007. 

"GSK remains confident in the benefit-risk profile of Cervarix to help prevent cervical cancer and this view is supported by several independent health organisations.

"The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have made independent reviews of the safety and efficacy of HPV vaccination and conclude the benefits of the vaccines outweigh any associated risks. These organisations all continue to recommend HPV vaccination to help protect women against cervical cancer."