Thursday 17 October 2019

'Anti-vax' views need to be called out, says minister

Tribute: Campaigner Laura Brennan died this week
Tribute: Campaigner Laura Brennan died this week
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

So-called "anti-vaxxers" who spread wrong information about life-saving vaccines must be called out, Health Minister Simon Harris has insisted.

"We really need to call on the anti-vaxxers to cop on - we need to call them out," he said.

Referring to some of his Dáil colleagues, he said: "They continue to send representations to me, questioning the benefits of vaccinations about constituent X and Y.

"Yes, we need to supply parents with all the information. Yes, we need to help parents make informed decisions."

He said increasing outbreaks of measles and mumps were linked to children not being vaccinated.

Social media giants also have a responsibility not to allow misinformation about vaccines to be given an airing and he intends to get more collective support at European level to fight them.

Mr Harris was speaking after he paid tribute to Laura Brennan (26), who died this week of cervical cancer after campaigning for greater take-up of the HPV vaccine to protect against the disease.

He said the Co Clare woman, whose funeral will take place next week, was "amazing".

"I have no doubt she saved lives. She was the most amazing person. Every time I met her, it was never about Laura but helping other women," he added.

"She was a beautiful woman, so full of life."

The take-up of the HPV vaccine rose from 51pc to 70pc after she became involved in the HSE campaign promoting the jab.

Irish Independent

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