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Your Health

HPV vaccination is cancer prevention

As healthcare workers, friends, neighbours and colleagues often ask our advice around medical and vaccine issues, the HSE is asking you to help us to save lives by recommending the vaccine to those who seek our opinions.

Some of you will have already been asked about the HPV vaccine and whether it is safe to give to our children. This topic is likely to be raised again as the HSE National Immunisation Office is currently asking parents around the country to consent to their daughters receiving the HPV vaccine. HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and saves lives.

Armed for Life

You may have heard stories that the HPV vaccine is unsafe and causes harm. These stories have led to some parents being genuinely afraid to consent to HPV vaccination. However, these stories are simply untrue.

Over 200,000 girls in Ireland and 100 million people worldwide in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have safely received the HPV vaccine. Not one of these people anywhere in the world has been medically proven to have had a long term side effect from getting the vaccine. “Many parents are genuinely afraid to consent to HPV vaccination because of the stories they have heard about the safety of the vaccine. Despite the scare stories, there are no ‘alternative facts’ that stand up to even the most basic medical or scientific scrutiny,” said Dr Brenda Corcoran from the HSE National Immunisation Office.

“Unfortunately, there are some naturally occurring conditions that can make teenage girls unwell, but WHO and every national regulatory body in the world have said 100pc that the HPV vaccine does not cause any of the alleged side effects. In fact, international studies have found  that the alleged side effects are just as common in people who have never received the HPV vaccine at all. “Like Ireland, every one of the many countries implementing HPV vaccination programmes are doing so in the best interest of their citizens, to maximise health, prevent disease and prolong life. Around the world, a failure to implement a HPV vaccination programme is considered to be a withholding of potentially life saving preventive treatment,” added Dr Corcoran.

Some girls missed out on the first dose of the HPV vaccine in September 2016. It is not too late for them to get this life saving vaccine and all girls who missed out on their first dose will be offered the vaccine again this month when vaccination teams visits schools around the country. Please take the time to visit www.hpv.ie for a wide range of information including videos and fact sheets about the vaccine, how it saves lives and its excellent safety record. “HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and saves lives. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide and each year in Ireland around 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 100 die from the disease. All cervical cancers are linked to high risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types,” she added.

All national and international scientific and regulatory bodies recommend HPV vaccine including:

• World Health Organisation
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US
• European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC)
• International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FIGO)
• American Society for Clinical Oncology
• CervicalCheck in Ireland

We are asking you to help us to save lives by recommending the vaccine to those who seek our opinions and to recommend www.hpv.ie to friends, neighbours and colleagues who are seeking information about the HPV vaccine. Please contact immunisation@hse.ie if you need any additional information or join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #ArmedForLife

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