The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore has apologised for his controversial comments on the HPV vaccine.
Lahinch-native Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan has issued a statement in which he has apologised for contributing to any misinformation, or causing upset, for suggesting that the cervical cancer vaccine for schoolgirls encourages them to engage in risky sexual behaviour.
He says his intervention was in response to concerns by parents, but he acknowledges that he was not fully informed.
He says he “can see now how HPV vaccines can contribute greatly to lowering the rate of cervical cancer.”
The Bishop’s comments led to criticism for him, while the Health Minister Simon Harris warned people not to take medical advice from people without the proper qualifications.
Statement by Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan on HPV vaccines:
I wish to apologise for contributing to any misinformation, or indeed for causing upset to anyone, concerning use of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines.
My intervention was in response to concerns which I had received about HPV vaccines from parents wishing to make the best health decision on behalf of their children, and from young people alike. My intention was solely motivated to protect people from the HPV.
I was not fully informed about the vaccination programme and I can see now how HPV vaccines can contribute greatly to lowering the rate of cervical cancer. As I have learnt, possession of full information is paramount on this vital health issue.