“If you vaccinate we will obliterate 75% of cervical cancers…”

From Gavin featuring Consultant Oncologist Professor John Crown of St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin who argues the Government is deliberately muddying the waters over it’s decision to cut the cervical cancer vaccine programme that was only announced in August. Mr Crown has clashed with the government before. Most notably last year when he was dropped at the very last minute from an edition of the Late Late Show in controversial circumstances. Crown is pretty straightforward in his criticism:

“There have been a series of attempts to confuse the issue with the national screening programme and the issue of the vaccine, to somehow say that we have the screening programme so we don’t need the vaccine. Or somehow the vaccine will undermine the screening programme. The arithemtic is very simple: if you vaccinate we will obliterate 75% of cervical cancers. 75% of deaths; but not only the deaths but those people who are cured of cervical cancer but at the cost of substantial morbidity from the treatment that they would undergo. All of the other folks who would undergo treatment for pre-malignant lesions, 75-80 of them would be avoided.”

As Donncha notes, Ms Harney has cited €9.4 annual cost for the treatment. But her contribution in the Dail the other day front-loaded precisely that elision between screening and vaccination that Crown complains of in the clip above:

It seems that money was the problem, namely the demand from Finance for €700 million of cuts in the Health budget (the same figure she claims FG’s Richard Bruton called for recently). Her argument is that screening will have more immediate effects, whilst the cases of women saved by the vaccine won’t come into practical effect for 25 years.