The Health Service Executive today (Thursday) announced that the nationwide HPV vaccination campaign is now underway, and will help protect more than 57,000 schoolgirls from developing cervical cancer as adults. The vaccine – Gardasil – is free of charge and is being offered to all girls attending first and second year of second level schools, according to head of the HSE National Immunisation Office, Dr Brenda Corcoran.
‘In Ireland, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in the country among females aged 15 to 44. HPV or Human Papillomavirus, is proven to cause cervical cancer. It is a common virus - about 80% of people will have a HPV infection during their lifetime.’
‘Even though it will take time for the impact of the vaccination programme to be seen, this vaccine will help protect the future health of this generation of young girls, and the generations to come.’
‘Gardasil is a safe and fully tested vaccine which protects against the main cancer-causing strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and will eventually save around 60 lives in Ireland every year. Around 250 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer here annually, with around 80 deaths. The HPV vaccine will prevent at least 70% of these cases.’
‘Informed consent is a critical element of any vaccination campaign, and all parents should be informed about the vaccine their daughters will receive – information that comes from verifiable, credible and unbiased sources. ‘
‘All parents of girls who are getting the vaccine are given a detailed information booklet and consent form from the HSE. We also encourage all parents to visit our website www.hpv.ie, where they can read all about HPV and the vaccine, and see many links to international scientific information and evidence about the value and safety of this vaccine. We have seen a high uptake of the vaccine so far in Ireland and are confident that this will continue with the girls starting in September.’
Most of the vaccinations will be administered in schools by HSE immunisation teams, with some girls being invited to HSE clinics for their vaccine. When it is time for their daughter’s vaccine, parents or guardians will receive an information pack and consent form from the HSE, via the school.
‘Gardasil will save lives and is important that first and second year schoolgirls get vaccinated. Like Ireland, every one of the many countries implementing HPV vaccination programmes are doing so in the best interest of their citizens - to maximize health, prevent disease and prolong life,’ said Dr Corcoran.
‘Cervical cancer is proven to be caused by HPV. Giving your daughter the HPV vaccine is safe, is very worthwhile, and will protect her now, for her future.’
For more information on the HPV vaccine programme and on cervical cancer visit www.hpv.ie – a dedicated HSE website with a range of links to national and international information on HPV and cervical cancer.
HPV Vaccine - Protect now, for the future
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