Parents urged to back vaccination, but some say no
The HSE has urged parents to protect their daughters from developing cervical cancer, by having the free HPV vaccine which is currently being administered as part of the HSE schools immunisation programme.
Head of the HSE National Immunisation Office Dr Brenda Corcoran it says the HPV vaccine is safe and is a real life saver, however, not everyone considers it has been adequately tested and there are those who believe it can have serious side effects.
The Regret Campaign, which represents more than 400 girls it says are chronically ill as a result of the Gardasil vaccine, says parents need a balanced view of the risks associated with the vaccine and accuses the HSE of stifling the facts about it.
Regret says that 70 per cent of the girls in the group suffer from seizures and that there's a one in 50 million risk that one girl will present with four most common symptoms in the group.
Phil Lawlor. from Glynn, and a member of the Regret campaign, says his 16-year-old daughter Fiona, is newly returned to school and for the first time in four years since she had the second batch of Gardasil vaccine has spent six consecutive days there.
'When she first got the vaccine she was suffering from flu-like like symptoms. She was very tired all the time, with aches and pains in her muscles. Then she had the second injection and went totally downhill.
'She was in agony in every joint in her body. She was so bad that we had to carry her into the toilet and the shower,' said Mr Lawlor, who along with other members of Regret, is calling for a thorough investigation of the vaccine and its feared side effects.
He said Fiona had been to a succession of doctors, but none were able to say what was wrong with her, although one GP said she had not seen such a young person with such high blood pressure.
Mr Lawlor didn't wait for an ambulance and took Fiona straight to hospital following the consultation, but after three or four days in a hospital bed, doctors said they were unable to find anything wrong with her.
He said Fiona had good days and bad days.
'We don't to push her. We don't want her to over-exert herself. But she is facing quite a struggle keeping up at school. Since Day One she always wanted to go to school and has been trying to keep up, but with the chronic fatigue it's just impossible.'
'There are several hundred girls in Ireland suffering and probably thousands around the world, but this vaccine hasn't been investigated enough and that's what's needed,' he said.
Dr Corcoran said that there was no medical or scientific evidence to support claims of a link between HPV and any other vaccine 'and illnesses which arise in the whole population'.
He said that in 2016 more than 90 Irish women will die from cervical cancer and a further 280 will need intensive treatment, such as surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, to help them overcome invasive cervical cancer. 'Of these 280 women, around 112 will die from their disease within five years. Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of death due to cancer in women aged 25 to 39 years. HPV also causes pre-cancerous cervical conditions and a further 6,500 Irish women will need hospital treatment to remove these growths.' said Dr Corcoran.
Dr Corcoran said that HPV vaccine safety has been monitored for more than 10 years by many international bodies including the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation.
'A number of syndromes and symptoms have been reported from small groups of families of girls across the globe. The symptoms reported can be very serious and consequential for those girls. The symptoms can often be hard to medically define.
'However, very careful and detailed analysis of reports of these conditions by independent national and international agencies analysing the millions of people who have been vaccinated to date has found that there is no difference in the rates of these illnesses between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
'While there is no question that these illnesses are real and devastating for those affected, there is no medical or scientific evidence to support assertions of a link between these illnesses which arise in the whole population and the administration of the HPV or any other vaccine.'