Sunday 24 September 2017

'Fake news' behind declining vaccine uptake in Ireland, IMO president warns

Pictured are Dr John Duddy out going President, IMO and Dr. Ann Hogan, President, IMO.
Picture by Shane O'Neill Photography.
Pictured are Dr John Duddy out going President, IMO and Dr. Ann Hogan, President, IMO. Picture by Shane O'Neill Photography.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The president of the Irish Medical Organisation has said that 'fake news' is playing a role in declining vaccine uptake in Ireland.

Dr. Ann Hogan was making her inaugural speech as President of the IMO at the organisation’s AGM in Galway today.

She expressed her concern at declining take up rates for vaccines in Ireland. 

Dr. Hogan expressed deep concern at the impact of social media campaigns and fake news about 'non-existent' risks from vaccinations: “Uptake rates for the HPV vaccine amongst young girls are declining to a worrying extent on the back of fake news stories about non-existent risks from vaccinations. 

"As a result, we are putting the future health of young women at risk of cervical cancer and other ailments.”

The uptake of the MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella has recovered in recent years and now stands at around 91.3pc nationally.

The vaccine was at the centre of an unfounded scare in the late 1990s when it was wrongly linked to autism. Figures show, however, that uptake is as high as around 97.6pc in the south east.

However, there remains pockets of deprived areas where the rate of vaccination is lower.

In recent years a number of catch-up campaigns have had to be rolled out to administer it to teenagers who missed out on the protection as infants.

Measles remains a highly infectious viral illness that can cause serious complications.

Anyone can get measles if un-vaccinated or they haven't had it before, although it's most common in young children. The infection clears in around seven to 10 days.

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