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03rd Sep 2017

Junior Health Minister Finian McGrath wants the HPV vaccine banned

There are now calls for him to resign.

Carl Kinsella

Independent TD Finian McGrath is facing calls to step down from his role as super-junior minister of Health after comments made about the HPV vaccine.

The Sunday Times had reported that McGrath had called for a ban on Gardasil, a vaccination used to prevent HPV – a condition which can lead to cervical cancer in women.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has today released a statement refuting McGrath’s original stance, writing “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.”

The statement also says that Deputy McGrath “assured Minister Harris that he supports the new campaign to encourage parents to avail of the HPV vaccine which saves lives.”

However, many feel that McGrath’s public doubts over the vaccine have already done significant damage to public confidence.

Doctor and media figure Ciara Kelly wrote on her Twitter that “Unless Finian McGrath resigns it is clear that votes are more important in Leinster House than lives.”

Others have emphatically agreed with her, pointing out that Ireland’s current Taoiseach is himself a medical doctor.

Kelly, reflecting the widespread consensus in the community of medical professionals, has repeatedly highlighted the proven efficacy and safety of the HPV vaccine.

90 women die from cervical cancer each year in Ireland.