Saturday 23 September 2017

Teen girls will be offered catch-up HPV vaccine after 'untrue stories' spread about jab

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Teenage girls are to be offered a catch-up HPV vaccine to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

The HSE said in the coming weeks immunisation teams will return to secondary schools to provide the second dose to girls in first year. 

It follows a fall-off in take-up in the wake of unfounded fears about the vaccine’s safety.

Dr Brenda Corcoran, Head of the HSE Immunisation Office said: "It is not too late for girls in first year of second level school who missed out on the first dose of the HPV vaccine in September 2016 to get vaccinated with this life saving medicine.

"All girls who missed out on their first dose of the HPV vaccine will be offered the vaccine again in March when vaccination teams visits schools around the country.

"You may have heard stories that the HPV vaccine is unsafe and causes harm. This is simply untrue.

"Over 220,000 girls in Ireland have safely received the HPV vaccine, along with 100 million people worldwide in countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. 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.”

She added: "HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and saves lives. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide.

"Each year in Ireland around 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 90 die from the disease.

"Furthermore, every year over 6,500 Irish women are diagnosed with precancerous abnormalities of the cervix caused by HPV and need hospital treatment.  All cervical cancers are linked to high risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types."

Dr Corcoran said all national and international scientific and regulatory bodies recommend HPV vaccine.

The vaccine is already known to reduce cervical cancer developing.

Australia was one of the first countries to introduce HPV vaccine in 2007 and the vaccine has already prevented one in every two cervical cancers and they have seen a decrease of up to 75pc in rates of pre cancer of the cervix over the last ten years.  Similar results have been reported from Sweden and Scotland.

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