Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for the head of the HSE to be sacked over what he calls a "vicious and unwarranted" attack on parents.
In supporting the rollout of the HPV vaccine campaign yesterday, HSE boss Tony O'Brien accused anti-vaccination groups of using "emotional terrorism", which costs the lives of women.
He said there had been a “well-orchestrated” campaign targeting parents, teenage girls and teachers with “disinformation” that has no basis in science or medicine.
“Some of the tactics employed can only be equated to a form of emotional terrorism. As a result the uptake of the HPV vaccine in this country has dropped to an all-time low (of about 50%),” he said.
Deputy McGrath called Mr O'Brien's comments a "pathetic and brutalising assault" on all those who raise questions about the effectiveness and impact of the vaccine.
The Tipperary TD saaid that if Mr O'Brien did not resign, he should be dismissed by the Health Minister.
Ireland has one of the highest cervical cancer rates in Europe, with more than 90 women dying from the disease every year and more than 280 others needing surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy.
Uptake of the vaccine dropped from about 90% to around 50% last year following claims that a number of girls had suffered serious side effects.
Unless this trend is reversed, lives will be lost, warned Mr O’Brien.
Regret, one of the parents groups opposed to the vaccine, claims information from the HSE is incomplete, downplays safety issues, and exaggerates its effectiveness.
Health Minister Simon Harris said: “To those who wish to scaremonger my message is very simple: If you wish to give medical advice in this country become a medical professional and, if you don’t, please butt out."