Sunday 24 September 2017

McGrath assures Health Minister he 'supports new HPV campaign'

Disability Minister Finian McGrath Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Disability Minister Finian McGrath Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ryan O'Rourke

Minister Finian McGrath has assured the Health Minister that he supports the new campaign to encourage parents to avail of the HPV vaccine.

The statement comes after a story in today’s Sunday Times which reported how the super junior minister called for the vaccine, Gardasil, to be banned before he was appointed to Cabinet last year.

A statement issued today by Health Minister Simon Harris says that Minister McGrath is "fully behind the campaign".

The statement reads:

Health Minister Simon Harris Picture: Steve Humphreys
Health Minister Simon Harris Picture: Steve Humphreys

"Minister Harris spoke to Minister McGrath on this issue today.

"Minister McGrath assured Minister Harris that he supports the new campaign to encourage parents to avail of the HPV vaccine which saves lives and he welcomes the fact the whole purpose of the new campaign is to help inform parents and direct them to medical professionals to have any questions answered and facts provided.

"Ministers Harris and McGrath agree that the people qualified to give advice on vaccines are medical professionals and they would encourage parents to take advice from them.

"Minister Harris said ‘the HPV vaccine saves lives and my appeal to parents is simple - get the facts and information from medical experts. Talk to your doctor.’"

On Wednesday, the HSE launched an information website about the vaccine, with the aim of reversing the drop in the number of girls opting for it.

The HSE said the drop was due to a growth in the spread of misinformation about the vaccine.

The Irish Cancer Society have called on the minister "to publicly clarify his full and unequivocal support for the national HPV Vaccination programme".

"While the Society welcomes Minister Simon Harris’ intervention in the matter, a unified approach from all Ministers is required to ensure the uptake rate of the life-saving HPV vaccine is increased and to ensure misinformation about the vaccine is dispelled," read a statement from the group.

"This is why Minister McGrath needs to take responsibility, as a Minister in the Department of Health, and publicly make clear his full and unwavering support for the national HPV Vaccination Programme."

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