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Fianna Fail - Stephen Donnelly - Minister for Health

Government To Counter Online Mistruths On Child Vaccination Spread By Anti-Vax Tin Foil Hat Wearers

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The government has committed to specifically addressing online misinformation being spread about the vaccination of children.

A public awareness campaign will be launched following the decision to approve the use of MRNA vaccines in 12-15 year olds.

Registration for the Pfizer and Moderna jabs will likely get underway next week.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly also said it was “perfectly natural” that parents would have questions about whether or not their children should get vaccinated.

He encouraged parents to “ignore the social media misinformation” and to get their information from official sources.

Dr Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer, said: “I strongly urge anyone eligible to register for a vaccine to do so as soon as possible.”

Trinity College Dublin Professor of Experimental Immunology Kingston Mills was part of a team that issued a 14-page paper on vaccines to debunk misinformation circulating on social media.

This misguided view is being driven at least in part by parents picking up faulty ‘facts’ from social media and accepting claims by bloggers that are not backed up by scientific evidence,” said the experts.

It is slowly being undermined by the incorrect view that vaccination is not safe.”

The experts said that vaccines have been around for over 200 years and are among the safest medical interventions available, saving more lives every year than antibiotics or surgery and preventing hundreds of millions of deaths from infectious diseases, such as smallpox, polio, and diphtheria.

Vaccines are subject to constant safety monitoring by international and national agencies, including the Health Products Regulatory Authority in Ireland and the European Medicines Agency, they said.

Stephen Donnelly, the health minister, said it was “a real relief” for parents that 12 to 15-year-olds could now get vaccinated. The cabinet yesterday agreed that this age group would be eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, with the government hoping the first doses could be given out as early as the end of next week. Donnelly said he wanted the registration portal open for parents “very quickly”.