R.E.G.R.E.T calls upon Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar to reconsider proposed increase of Disability Allowance age threshold.

Regret.ie , 04/06/2016

The support group R.E.G.R.E.T (Reactions and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma), which represents 360 girls with chronic, life-altering health issues following the routinely administered-via-schools HPV vaccination, is deeply concerned to hear the news of proposed changes to the age threshold for Disability Allowance applicants from 16 to 18 years.

Says spokesperson Anna Cannon: "Given the age profile of the teenagers represented by R.E.G.R.E.T, this outcome would have a further detrimental impact on the lives of some 200 girls in the age bracket affected, children who are already paying a too-high price as the "collateral damage" of a questionable vaccine that is routinely causing severe adverse effects in around 1/600 recipients – these being the cases of which R.E.G.R.E.T is aware. These girls suffer from a range of symptoms detailed on the manufacturer Patient Information Leaflet, the majority of which are not communicated to parents in the HSE literature provided through schools. R.E.G.R.E.T has been working for the past 12 months to get an appropriate care plan in place for the girls affected, and an increase in the Disability Allowance age threshold would have a serious effect on this.

"R.E.G.R.E.T is strenuously calling upon Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar not to implement this age increase, and questions the timing of the move, given his awareness of the group's efforts on behalf of an ever-increasing number of girls whose health has been chronically damaged in the aftermath of the vaccine, after the group made repeated efforts to meet with him during his tenure as Minister for Health, to no avail.

"It also calls upon Minister for Health Simon Harris to immediately intercede on behalf of these chronically ill teenagers, and ensure that the age threshold is not increased, and that the appropriate supports are be made available to the 360 girls as a matter of urgency."

R.E.G.R.E.T is also calling for the outcome to its December 2015 presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children, where it called on the government and its agencies to urgently implement the following supports for the chronically ill teenage girls in the group:

A task force comprising senior officials from the Departments of Health, Social Protection and Department of Education to be urgently established to fast track support for the girls effected, including Medical Cards, Disability Allowance and Carers Allowance.

An Independent investigation into the symptoms of 360 R.E.G.R.E.T girls, following the HPV vaccination, and appropriate long-term treatment plans, with a view to restoring their health.

The provision of full information by the HSE to parents, including the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL), as outlined by the manufacturer, which requests that parents inform their healthcare provider if their daughter experiences any of 25 potential side effects as part of the informed consent process – currently not provided in the HSE information leaflet.

Says spokesperson Anna Cannon: "Our girls are already in a vulnerable age bracket. They are largely confined to their bedrooms, unable to play sports, or be normal teenagers. Many have been struggling for several years, unable to complete their second-level education. To further limit their access to support for girls in the 16-18 age bracket would be a hard blow for those affected."

Several girls represented by R.E.G.R.E.T have been diagnosed with ovarian failure, on top of a long range of painful and chronic daily symptoms including: severe daily headaches, seizures, neurological symptoms, chest pain, paralyses, onset of auto immune conditions, muscle weakness, joint and leg pain, heart problems, systemic inflammation, short term memory loss and pancreatitis.

REGRET presentation before Irish Parliament Committee 03/12/2015.

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