Next month, many Sligo parents and the parents of more than 30,000 girls who have just started secondary school, will be faced with a decision – whether or not to allow their daughters be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer.
R.E.G.R.E.T. Support Group was set up by parents of Irish teenage girls who have developed serious health problems after entering secondary school. These parents are certain that the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) is the cause of their daughters' otherwise unexplained illness.
The group feels that the information provided by the HSE is incomplete and biased, downplaying the safety issues while exaggerating its effectiveness.Speaking yesterday (Wednesday) at the launch of the HSE's 2017/18 Schools HPV Vaccine Programme and Information Campaign, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said that scaremongers should butt out and leave medical advice on HPV to the medical professionals.
The HPV Vaccination Programme and Information Campaign aims to support parents in ensuring their daughters get the vaccine and get protected.
The Department of Health states that the vaccine saves lives by preventing the most common strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
Minister Harris said, “I am delighted to help launch this new HPV Vaccine campaign. It is vital that we get the information out that this vaccine can save lives and prevent cancer. I know that parents want to do everything possible to make sure their children are healthy and protected from preventable diseases. Let's protect our future.”
Professor Karina Butler, Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, said parents have been concerned about the development of chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic regional pain syndrome and another condition, temporarily associated with the vaccine.She said these are entities that occur in young people, especially girls, in that age group and the European Medicines Agency conducted a large study to see if there was any increased incidence among the vaccinated.
Prof Butler said: "And what they found was that the background rates were the same as those among the vaccinated children. There's been a subsequent follow-up review.
"In fact this vaccine has had more safety reviews, more formal safety reviews, than any other single vaccine; the latest from the WHO [World Health Organization] independent vaccine advisory group, and they concluded there was no reason to suspect any link between the vaccine and these conditions."Preventable
Dr Kevin Connolly, a retired Pediatrician and member of the NIAC, said "scare stories" and "unsubstantiated allegations" surrounding the vaccine is causing real harm and putting people at risk in developing preventable cancer.
Minister Harris concluded “one of the most important things we can do is to provide accurate and credible information to enable parents to take a fully informed decision concerning HPV vaccination. We know that the HPV vaccine works and saves lives.”
HSE Director General Tony O’Brien said that the campaign against the HPV vaccine couldn’t be described as anything other than “a form of emotional terrorism”. See link below.
Over the next few weeks, around 40,000 leaflets will be sent out to parents offering information on the HPV vaccine. See some of what the leaflets contain on hpv.ie
Link: Sligo Today 30/8/2017