HSE Head must go following a vicious and unwarranted attack on parents – Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the Head of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, should be fired after an extraordinary intervention which saw him attack parents who have raised concerns about the impact of the Gardasil HPV Vaccine. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Mr O’Brien accused the parents of engaging in what he termed “emotional terrorism” at the risk of increasing threats to public health:

“This is a pathetic and brutalising assault on all those parents and children who, from Mr O’Brien’s perspective, have had the temerity to raise questions about the effectiveness and impact of the Gardasil vaccine.

To characterise their actions as ‘emotional terrorism’ is completely unwarranted. It must be immediately retracted and an apology issued.

Has Mr O’Brien conveniently forgotten that In January 2016 then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar acknowledged that the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) had received 958 reports of adverse side effects related to Gardasil and the HSE’s schools immunisation programme?

Were all of these reports based on attempts to generate ‘emotional terrorism’? It is absurd to suggest that this is the case.

What is deeply concerning here is that such language is bound to prevent parents of children who may experience adverse reactions from any other particular vaccine or drug from coming forward.

Who would want to risk being labelled an ’emotional terrorist’ when this is the response the parents of children affected by Gardasil have received?

To that extent Mr O’Brien, by his intemperate and ridiculous characterisation has actually increased the possibility of public health threats, not reduced them.

We need parents to feel completely free to express their genuine concerns in a hostile free environment. That has not happened with Gardasil and it now looks increasingly unlikely to happen with any other vaccine or related public health policy.

The responsibility for that awful mess lies squarely on the shoulders of Mr O’Brien and not on parents and it demands his immediate resignation or failing that, his dismissal by Minister Simon Harris,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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