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HSE in talks to resume school vaccine programmes


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Talks are under way to resume school-based vaccination programmes covering measles and HPV next term, the HSE said yesterday.

The vaccine programmes for some classes were paused when schools closed in March due to Covid-19.

Asked if they will resume in the next academic year, a spokeswoman for the HSE said the school immunisation teams were aware of the schools they were due to visit during the closures.

Clinics are now under way to ensure that children and young people who lost out due to the school closures are offered these vaccines.

"Interrupted courses of vaccines do not need to be restarted, so the children and young people can complete their course when this is offered to them," the spokeswoman said.

"These clinics are scheduled to be completed before the start of the next academic year."

She said the HSE was working with the Department of Education to make plans for immunisation programmes to be provided in the next academic year.

Children in junior infants get a 4-in-1 booster to protect against diphtheria, polio, tetanus and whooping cough. They also get a second dose of the MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

Students in first year in secondary school are offered the HPV vaccine, which can protect against cervical cancer in women in adulthood.

A decision was made to extend HPV immunisation to boys starting in September 2019 with the introduction of the 9-valent HPV vaccine. It is hoped that the rollout of HPV vaccines and screening will lead to a significant reduction in the incidence of cervical cancer cases in Ireland over the next 10 to 20 years.

Irish Independent