The nationwide HPV vaccination campaign is underway with the aim of protecting more than 57,000 schoolgirls from developing cervical cancer as adults, the HSE announced today.
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 per cent of people will have a HPV infection during their lifetime,” Dr Corcoran said.
“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 per cent of these cases.’
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.
For more information on the HPV vaccine programme and on cervical cancer visit www.hpv.ie.