HSE encouraged by high uptake of HPV vaccine

HSE National Immunisation Office Press Release: Tuesday, 25th February 2020

 Vaccines for First Year students protect against HPV cancers and meningitis

The HSE is today (Tuesday 25th February) reminding parents that HSE school vaccination teams are now returning to secondary schools to offer the 2nd dose of HPV vaccine and a dose of MenACWY vaccine to first year students.

Each year in Ireland about 400 people will be diagnosed with a cancer caused by the HPV virus. The HPV vaccine now protects against the types of HPV that cause 9 out of 10 cervical cancers. The vaccine also protects against most cases of vulval, anal and vaginal cancers and most cases of genital warts.

Speaking today, Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of the HSE National Immunisation Office said “We are very encouraged by the uptake for the 1st dose of HPV vaccine for first year students since September 2019. This is the first year boys have also been offered the HPV vaccine and school teams are reporting very busy clinics across the country.

“Based on activity at our school clinics, our immunisation teams are confident that this year we’ll regain the WHO target of 80% uptake for the HPV vaccine nationally.  We can report today that the uptake for the HPV vaccine in Laura Brennan’s home county of Clare is 90% - a wonderful testament to her selfless advocacy, and the continuing work of the Brennan family to promote the importance of the HPV vaccine in Ireland”.

Kevin Brennan, Laura’s brother said “Our family are thrilled that the uptake of the HPV vaccine is set to reach target. Thank you to everyone who has helped us support the HPV vaccine over the last 12 months.  We’re especially pleased that the parents of County Clare have heard Laura’s message loud and clear and that more than 90% of first years will now be protected from the virus that caused her cancer.”

The HSE Information Campaign begins this week on radio, digital and social media. The next phase features 42 year old Eoin Roche from Co. Kildare who talks about his experience of undergoing treatment for a HPV-related cancer – which for Eoin is now thankfully in remission. Eoin is a strong advocate for the HPV vaccine and he hopes his story will encourage parents to get their daughters and sons vaccinated.

“Last year I was diagnosed with HPV cancer in my neck.  During treatment I decided I wanted to help in any way I could in the promotion of the HPV vaccine.  I contacted Kevin Brennan, who is the brother of Laura.  Laura’s story inspired me, as did the work of her family in the promotion of the HPV vaccine.

“I was delighted to hear that in September last year first year boys joined the HPV vaccination programme.  I’m also delighted to hear that the uptake of the vaccine is rising.  I would encourage parents to vaccinate their children to prevent HPV related cancers.”

The HPV vaccine is endorsed by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), the Irish Pharmacy Union and the Irish Cancer Society’s HPV Alliance and by major medical and scientific bodies worldwide including the World Health Organization, the Centres for Disease Control in the USA, the EU funded European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.


The MenACWY vaccine is also being introduced for all students in first year of secondary school. It replaces the MenC booster that has normally been given to students at this time. MenACWY covers more meningococcal strains than previously (A, C, W and Y) which can cause meningitis and septicaemia.

“Over the last couple of years there has been in increase in meningococcal disease in this age group. We are delighted to now be offering the MenACWY vaccine to all first year students in secondary school through the HSE school vaccination programme” said, Dr Jessop.

Get the facts. Get the vaccine – see hpv.ie #ProtectOurFuture


Last updated on: 25 / 02 / 2020