Minister warns of ‘inaccurate’ vaccine claims on internet

Leo Varadkar responding to trend of parents delaying or declining to vaccinate children

Leo Varadkar: “This really is one of those areas where you have to trust your family doctor.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Leo Varadkar: “This really is one of those areas where you have to trust your family doctor.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has urged parents who are declining to have their children vaccinated to disregard “inaccurate” online information about immunisation jabs.

Meanwhile, Minister for Children James Reilly said vaccines occasionally damaged individuals, but warned that declining the jabs exposed children to the risk of illness that could damage or even kill.

The Ministers were referring to a trend whereby parents either delay or decline to have their children vaccinated according to recommended schedules.

“I know there’s a lot of information online about vaccinations. Much of it is inaccurate and not based in fact. This really is one of those areas where you have to trust your family doctor,” Mr Varadkar said.

He said he would urge any parent with concerns about vaccinations to talk to their GP, “and to act on their advice alone”.

Mr Varadkar said immunisation programmes had effectively wiped out smallpox and drastically reduced the incidence of polio, TB and measles.

“Any decision about vaccines and immunisation must always be based on the scientific facts and the epidemiological evidence, and nothing else.”