Catholic bishop claims cervical cancer vaccine ‘only 70% safe’

Gardasil ‘lulling’ young girls into casual sex, according to Bishop Phonsie Cullinan


The controversial Gardasil vaccine against cervical cancer is “only 70 per cent safe”, a Catholic bishop has suggested.

Bishop Phonsie Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, says parents are being pressurised into agreeing to have the vaccine administered to their daughters. The money spent on it should be diverted to helping young people stay chaste.

Although the vaccine is backed by the World Health Organisation and other international scientific bodies, he maintains there are “conflicting opinions” from experts about its safety.

Bishop Cullinan says the experience of the Regret group of parents who have concerns about Gardasil should not be “rubbished”.

He has also asked why the vaccine is not being given to boys: “Why is this vaccine being ‘offered’ only to girls? One can add that the male contraceptive has been available for years. Are men using it? Why not? Where is the equality in that?”

In supplying his remarks to The Irish Times, Bishop Cullinan says they are intended “with great respect for medical personnel. But debate is good, once it is reasonable”.

He questions whether the vaccine will “lull our girls into a false sense of security”, making it more likely some of them engage in more risky behaviour. “More sexual activity means an increased risk of infection and therefore an increased risk of serious health problems.”

“I wonder could the large amount of money being spent on this vaccine be better spent on programmes which encourage our young people to live clean and chaste lives. I know that the vaccine may do some good but from what I have read it is not the most effective way to guard against cervical cancer.”

Up to 30,000 adolescent girls are due to receive the vaccine in schools this month, but uptake rates have fallen to 50 per cent as a result of opposition from a number of groups. Their claim that hundreds of girls who received the vaccine are suffering long-term health effects as a consequence have not been supported by any scientific study.

Bishop Cullinan says the vaccine offers “no absolute guarantee” of “full protection” against cervical cancer. “The vaccine covers 70 per cent of cervical cancers. Would you go on a plane that was 70 per cent safe? Smear tests will still be necessary.”

More sexual activity means an increased risk of infection and therefore an increased risk of serious health problems, he says.

“There seems to be pressure on parents to get their girls vaccinated with the Gardasil product. The insinuation is that to be a ‘good parent’ you should do this. But there are conflicting opinions from experts about the safety of this vaccine.”

He suggests those interested in the concerns expressed by Regret should look up the group’s videos on YouTube.

“As a Bishop I have spoken to young people, especially young women, who tell me (with tears) how they have been used and dumped over and over. This can result in forms of depression, lack of self-esteem and even self-harm. This is what I have seen in young lives. Does our promiscuous attitude to sexual behaviour bring true happiness? And the reckless partying and porn? I see so many young lives being ruined.

“There are young people who feel forced through peer pressure into having sex. Where is the freedom in that? So many are caught up in destructive behaviour. Sexual liberation is the destruction of freedom in the name of freedom.”

“I believe we know deep down that casual sex is not good because there is no happiness in sin. Sin destroys. It disturbs the soul. All the partying, all the porn, and all the casual sex do not make a person free and at peace. And God know that all of us struggle in this area.”