More than 44,000 girls have completed the free HPV vaccination course, helping to protect them from developing cervical cancer.
The 86pc uptake in completed courses of vaccinations signals the success of the nationwide HPV vaccine campaign – and has far surpassed the Health Service Executive target rate of 80pc, according to Dr Kevin Kelleher, Assistant National Director, Health Protection at HSE. “The routine programme for first year girls during 2011/2012 has been well received.”
The catch up programme introduced for all sixth year students also performed very well, according to Dr Kelleher.
“The rate for completed vaccination courses for sixth year students was also very string with a 72pc uptake, 12pc above the target of 60pc.”
At the start of 2010, the Government agreed to roll out the life-saving vaccine after initially claiming it could not afford to do so given the tough economic climate.
While some girls have visited HSE clinics for the vaccine, the majority of the vaccinations were administered in schools by HSE immunisation teams.
Dr Kelleher commended the staff involved in the project, especially considering the impressive retention rates for girls who completed all three administrations required.
Following the first dose, 97pc of first year pupils returned to complete the vaccination, while 95pc of all sixth year pupils completed the full course.
“These figures are better, or as good as many other countries and are a great credit to the staff of the vaccination teams,” said Dr Kelleher.
Around 80 women in Ireland die every year from cervical cancer.