Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Order of Business
I wish to raise the HPV vaccine. In this State and also in the UK we have a history of burying our heads in the sand when there are issues with various drugs - Thalidomide comes to mind. We suddenly at some stage find we are in serious trouble, the drug is withdrawn and then there are legal battles lasting years. Anecdotal evidence is arriving in my office on a daily basis. I do not court constituency contact. I do not go looking for people to contact me. I have no interest in sitting in the Lower House and as such I do not seek contact with the members of the public. However, people are coming to me about this vaccine and they are telling me that their daughters or people they know, who were active sports-inclined people and who had this vaccine, are now chronically ill.
While I might be wrong in this - which is why I am calling for a debate - I understand Ireland may have indemnified the drugs company when it adopted this vaccine and effectively said it would cover the cost if problems arose. If that is true, we may have dug a hole for ourselves that is getting deeper by the day. I am no medic and we might need a medic in here to explain the pros and cons of this drug and whether it is worth continuing to take the chance of administering something that is resulting in fit girls, who are involved in sport and other activities, suddenly becoming listless, tired, unable to attend school and having a lack of attention span.
Many things are being reported. I am not sure what empirical evidence there is to support this, but it is time we had a look at this drug. If it is dangerous, we need to know. If there is a particular cohort for whom it is not suitable, we need to know that as well. I am asking for a debate with the Minister for Health at the earliest possible convenience although I realise we are in a very busy period.