57,000 pupils finally getting cancer jab
THE official rollout of the cervical cancer vaccine to more than 57,000 schoolgirls begins this week and should be completed within a month.
The vaccine, which was at the centre of controversy over a delay in funding last year, will be offered to all girls in first and second year of secondary school.
This is because the Health Service Executive (HSE) is having to play catch-up, having vaccinated only 1,300 first-year girls last school term.
A spokesman last night confirmed all schools will this week be notified by local immunisation teams of their start date.
Parents will be given information packs with consent forms and have the right to refuse the vaccine if they wish.
It is feared that parts of the country suffering a loss of public health staff will have to delay other programmes such as booster shots of the whooping cough vaccine to do the job.
But the HSE said it envisaged the first round of cervical cancer vaccinations being completed in just a month.
"Most girls will be vaccinated at school by HSE immunisation teams. Some will be invited to attend a HSE clinic to get the vaccine," a spokesman told the Irish Independent.
When the catch-up is complete, the jab will just be routinely given to all first-year girls.