Bishop apologises for comments on the HPV vaccine

He claims he was not fully informed about the vaccination

Bishop apologises for comments on the HPV vaccine

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan | Image:

The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan has apologised for comments he made about vaccinations.

Bishop Cullinan suggested that the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine was only 70% effective, that it could cause promiscuity and that money could be better spent encouraging young people to abstain from sex.

It was a position that drew criticism from many - including Newstalk presenter and GP Dr Ciara Kelly.

"This kind of thing where we should be punished for promiscuity and it's some kind of a throwback where the morality is being imposed on people rather than protecting their health is like the 1950s all over again.

"This is something to be roundly condemned - the bishop needs to mind his own business.

"His business is not the health of young women".

While last Friday Health Minister Simon Harris warned against medical advice from people without the proper qualifications.

Minister Harris said: " I don't want to get into a spat with anybody - bishop or no bishop - but at the end of the day it's very clear the people qualified to give medical advice on vaccinations are doctors, and funnily enough not bishops.

"And what I would advise people to do if they have a questions about a vaccination go and talk to a doctor".

In a statement, Bishop Cullinan said: "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."