A Specialist in Public Health Medicine for the HSE North West says that a significant drop in the number of girls getting the life-saving HPV vaccine this year is ‘concerning’.
Provisional HSE figures this year show the numbers getting it have almost halved.
But parents with concerns about the side-effects of the vaccine in certain cases say they are in no way calling for other parents not to vaccinate their girls but they simply want parents to be more informed.
The HPV vaccine is now part of the schools immunisation programme.
It was introduced in 2010 in Ireland with the aim of reducing the risk of infection of this virus which is known to cause cervical and other cancers.
The HSE says since the vaccine was introduced the uptake has always been over 80% and in fact last year it was 87% – the highest ever since the start of the programme in 2010.
However, initial figures for this year show that the uptake has reduced dramatically from in the late 80s (87% last year) down to under 50%.
Dr Anthony Breslin Specialist in Public Health Medicine for the HSE – North West says the vaccine saves lives and he says the figures are worrying:
Parents with concerns about the side-effects of some young girls getting the HPV vaccine say more information is need to warn people about potential side-effects for some girls.
REGRET is a voluntary support group of parents set up to support parents of 400 girls who have had severe side-effects and they claim it’s as a result of getting the vaccine.
They are calling for an independent investigation into what has happened to their girls and also for more information to be made available for parents.
They claim that some of the HSE information is biased and ‘exaggerates the effectiveness of the vaccine’.
Anna Cannon, spokesperson for REGRET in Ireland says they are not against the vaccine but want their daughter’s ill-health to be looked into.
She says she feels parents are now cautious about signing up to it without the full information on it:
Dr Breslin says the HSE would be willing to meet parents on a national level.
He says the HSE is not trying to hide anything: