Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, at the launch of Vaccines for Life, has called the claims around the HPV vaccination as "unfounded and false". He stated this has led to a drop in the uptake rates of the vaccines leaving girls at risk of developing cervical cancer later in life.
He commented "For some, the perceived, often misconceived, risks of vaccines now outweigh the risks of these forgotten infectious diseases.
"For some, the perceived, often misconceived, risks of vaccines now outweigh the risks of these forgotten infectious diseases.
"This is a clear and present danger. We know what can happen from our own fairly recent experience. The scare surrounding the MMR vaccine in the 1990s resulted in a large reduction in uptake rates for this vaccine. In January 2000 a large outbreak of measles occurred in Dublin and resulted in more than 100 children being hospitalised, 13 children required intensive care treatment, and there were three measles related deaths.
"We are now, as all of us here today know and must address, facing a similar situation with respect to the HPV vaccine. Unfounded, false claims have been made of an association between HPV vaccination and a number of conditions experienced by a group of young women. There is no scientific evidence that the HPV vaccine causes any long term illness. However, this misinformation has led to a significant drop in uptake rates of the HPV vaccine. This means that a large cohort of girls are now at risk of developing cervical cancer later in their lives.
"Despite the availability of free and effective vaccines, a small number of people make the personal choice not to vaccinate themselves or their children in the belief that vaccines are unsafe or no longer necessary. People need to be aware that a personal decision not to vaccinate has a wider public impact," he concluded.