Belfast Telegraph

Irish bishop opposes cancer vaccine for girls aged 12

A Catholic bishop in Ireland has been warned by health chiefs that he is endangering women's lives over his opposition to a vaccine which helps prevent cervical cancer.

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Phonsie Cullinan, said giving the injection to 12-year-old girls to guard against the human papilloma virus could cause promiscuity.

"It's not only a medical issue, it's a lifestyle issue," he said. "It affects the lifestyle of our young people." Earlier this week, the bishop said: "Prevention, the number one and most effective protection, is abstinence. A good old traditional value."

The Health Service Executive's communications director Paul Connors said some of the remarks flew in the face of best available medical and scientific evidence. "The women of Ireland might be better served if Bishop Cullinan left pronouncements on important clinical matters such as vaccination programmes to the experts in that field," Mr Connors said.

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