Health Minister Simon Harris and Irish Medical Organisation president Dr Ann Hogan have slammed “scaremongers” who share “uninformed nonsense” on the HPV vaccine, while speaking at the IMO annual meeting in Galway yesterday.
The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine can fight cervical cancer.
The amount of young women availing of the vaccine has dropped from 87% to 50% since its induction in 2010 due to opposition from anti-vaccination groups; however no scientific research has been able to back up arguments from these groups.
Minister Harris encouraged doctors to provide clear and accurate information on the benefits of vaccination to parents, and to “take on the scaremongers.”
“Let’s come out fighting. Let’s take on the scaremongers. Let’s tell people – in no uncertain terms – that it is you, the doctors, who are the experts and the people who are most trusted, to know what is best for our people’s health and well-being, young and old.”
He also slammed those who get their medical information from “random social media accounts”, and said that if you want to dispense advice on vaccinations, become a doctor – if not, “stay away from our public health policy.”
“I take my advice on vaccinations from the Chief Medical Officer, from the European Medicines Agency, from the World Health Organisation and the medical community – not from random social media accounts.
“If you want to give medical advice on vaccinations, become a doctor. If not, get out of the way and stay away from our public health policy.
He went on to say that those spreading “uninformed nonsense” should feel ashamed.
“We have vaccines in this country that can prevent death. We have a vaccine that can prevent girls from dying of cancer. And yet we have uninformed nonsense interfering with medical efforts to save lives. Shame on them.”
Similarly Dr Ann Hogan, IMO president, struck out at the fake news found on social media news feeds.
“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.”
She says that worryingly, the future health of young women at the risk of cervical cancer is being put at risk.
“It is unfortunate that we are living in an age where there has never been such hostility to expertise and facts. This anti-expert bias has been a real issue in politics internationally over the past 12 months.”
This follows the Teachers’ Union of Ireland passing a motion requesting a review of the HPV vaccine programme in schools.Tags: