Administrated to all 12-year-old girls in the first year of secondary school, the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) protects against seven out of ten types of cervical cancer and some common types of the sexually transmitted HPV virus.
Globally, it's hailed as a historical medical milestone - a jab that actually prevents cancer.
And shockingly, cervical cancer kills up to 100 women a year in Ireland.
According to a report by Rita O’Reilly on Prime Time last November, over the past six years, 660,000 doses of the vaccine have been issued to some 220,000 girls. Of these, more than 1,000 reported experiencing adverse reactions – the vast majority of which were short-lived and have now been resolved.
I have requested the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health to convene a meeting & call witnesses on this Vaccine You are all free to attend
— Senator G Craughwell (@GCraughwell) December 8, 2016
However, ever since its 2010 introduction into Ireland, the vaccine has received a small but simmering backlash. Indeed, some girls and their families are adamant that their lives have been turned upside down since being injected.
Independent senator Gerard Craughwell is now calling for a Joint Oireachtas Committee on the matter. Meanwhile, REGRET - a support group created by a number of parents who say their daughters have experienced serious side effects from the vaccine - have established a charity to fund an investigation.
They claim that 380 Irish teenage girls are suffering from long term health issues - including auto immune conditions, ovarian failure and pancreatitis - since receiving the vaccination, and they want answers.
I am fully pro Vaccine I want the genuine fears expressed to me by parents answered. I want help for the families that's it
— Senator G Craughwell (@GCraughwell) December 13, 2016
So should parents be at all worried? MummyPages looks at the facts and research:
1. According to the HSE, all parents receive an information booklet for the vaccine Gardasil that provides them with support and guidance for all the known side effects of the vaccine - which is administered by HSE healthcare workers.
2. Seizures, muscle weakness, leg pain, joint pain and chronic fatigue are not known side effects to Gardasil. Indeed, following numerous studies and research globally, there are still no known long term side effects to the vaccine Gardasil.
3. Extensive reviews of the safety of Gardasil vaccine by the European Medicines Agency in 2015 reaffirmed that chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic regional pain syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardic syndrome are simply not caused by the HPV vaccines.
4. The European Medicines Agency issued a statement on January 20, 2016 reaffirming the safety of HPV vaccines and advising that there was no need for changes to licensing.
5. Also in January 2016, the European Commission endorsed the conclusion of the EMA review, for use of the HPV vaccines in all European countries.
6. The most frequently reported side effects are local redness and/or swelling at the point of injection, and fever. Fainting has also occurred after vaccination with Gardasil, especially in adolescents.
Pain, swelling, redness, itching, bruising, bleeding, and a lump where you got the shot, headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sore throat.
Patients may also experience the following:
Swollen glands (neck, armpit, or groin), joint pain, unusual tiredness, weakness, or confusion, chills, generally feeling unwell, leg pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, aching muscles, muscle weakness, seizure, bad stomach ache, bleeding or bruising more easily than normal, skin infection and fainting.
7. Less common reported side effects from Gardasil include pain in the injected arm, and bruising and itchiness at the injection site and, rarely, hives or a wheezing. This Health Products Regulatory Authority has received 11 reports of chronic fatigue like syndrome reported in association with Gardasil, according to the HSE.