All girls in 1st year in second level schools are offered the HPV vaccine each year.
Most girls will be vaccinated at school by HSE immunisation teams. Some will be invited to attend a HSE clinic to get the vaccine.
Why is HPV vaccine given in the National Immunisation Programme?
HPV vaccine is given to protect girls from their future risk of cervical cancer.
Why is the HPV vaccine administered through a schools based programme?
Other countries such as Australia and the UK have shown that the best vaccine uptakes are obtained through a school based programme. Data from the UK found that immunisation through a school based programme achieved an uptake rate of 80% compared to 60% from GPs.
How does the school programme work?
From September each year the HSE offers the vaccination to all girls in 1st year of second level schools.
All girls less than 15 years of age at the first dose require two doses of the HPV vaccine given at least 6 months apart.
All girls aged 15 years and older at the first dose require three doses of the HPV vaccine - the first two doses given at least 6 months apart and the third dose given at least three months after the second dose.
Why do older girls need more doses?
There is evidence to show that two doses give as much protection as three doses to young girls - girls who are less than 15 year of age at the start of the first dose.
There is no evidence yet for older girls - those who are 15 and older at the first vaccine - so they need to get three doses of the vaccine.
What about girls in Special schools?
For special schools HPV vaccination will be offered in September to girls who reach 12 years of age during the academic year.
What about girls being home schooled?
Girls who are home-schooled are still eligible for the vaccine. You need to contact your local health office to make an appointment.
Why is the vaccine being given to 1st year girls at second level school?
We know the vaccine works best if given to young girls.
We are therefore offering the vaccine to this age group, so that girls are protected before adulthood and likely exposure to HPV.
Why is the vaccine given to girls only?
The HPV vaccine is being given to girls to protect them from cervical cancer.
What happens next?
In September, schools send girls and their parents or guardians the HSE information packs. Please read the booklet, complete the enclosed consent form and return it to the school even if you do not wish to give consent or the girl has already completed a course of HPV vaccine.
When HPV vaccines are given in school the HSE will let you know the date of immunisations. If a student misses that immunisation in school, the HSE will arrange for the student to be vaccinated at a HSE clinic.
What should I do if I want to get younger sisters vaccinated?
Younger girls should wait until they reach 1st year in second level schools when they will be vaccinated free-of-charge through the HSE school programme.
All girls in 1st year will be offered the HPV vaccine.
I have changed my mind I want the HPV vaccine, can my daughter still get vaccinated?
If you have changed your mind and would like your daughter to receive the HPV vaccine you can still contact your local health office and get your daughter the HPV vaccine to prevent cancer.
The contact details for the local health office are here - http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/whoweare/localcontacts.html
Do girls get a record of vaccination?
Yes - Girls will receive a record of their vaccinations in an immunisation passport. This is an important document. Please keep this document safe as you may require it in the future to record other vaccines or when you are travelling or starting college.
What happens to a girl’s vaccination record in the HSE?
The HSE will use the information you provide to link your daughter’s HPV vaccine details with her other immunisation records. We will also share her details with CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, so that they can be linked to her future cervical screening record. We will keep this data absolutely confidential.
Do girls who have been vaccinated still need to attend for cervical screening?
Yes – it is very important that girls who have received the HPV vaccine still attend for cervical screening.
The vaccine protects against 7 out of 10 cervical cancers, so it is still important for girls to have regular smear tests when they are adults. This is why, with consent, we will share her vaccination details with CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme.
The HPV vaccine will protect girls from developing cervical cancer when they are adults and is available free of charge from the HSE.
Copies of the HPV Information Materials are available to download for parents of girls in 1st year of second level schools or equivalent in special schools.
This page was updated 25 November 2016