Harris: 'HPV scaremongers butt out' as vaccine uptake in Limerick drops by 28%

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent


Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent



Harris: 'HPV scaremongers butt out' as vaccine uptake in Limerick drops by 28%

Minister for Health: 'Scaremongers butt out'

THE MINISTER for Health Simon Harris has dramatically hit out at those against the HPV vaccine, telling “scaremongers should butt out” and leave advice to medical experts.

This comes after new data showed that Limerick schools saw a dramatic fall in the vaccine, which aims to protect women from the Human Papilloma Virus — a leading cause of cervical cancer for women.

According to new provisional HSE figures, just 59.2% of school girls in the Mid-West have recently received doses of the vaccine. This is a significant 28.5% drop in comparison to the uptake in the 2011/12 school year.

The uptake rate of 87.7% in 2011/2012 stagnated for four years before dropping by 13% in the 2015/2016 season, at 74.6%.

The figures are said to be conservative as there is a cohort of girls who have yet to receive the second dose of the vaccine.

Speaking after the launch of the HPV vaccine programme and information campaign, which aims to support parents in ensuring their daughters are vaccinated and protected, Minister Harris said:

“It is vital that we get the information out that this vaccine can save lives and prevent cancer.  I know that parents want to do everything possible to make sure their children are healthy and protected from preventable diseases. Let's protect our future.”

He concluded that “one of the most important things we can do is to provide accurate and credible information to enable parents to take a fully informed decision concerning HPV vaccination. We know that the HPV vaccine works and saves lives.”

According to the provisional data, there was a 58.4% uptake in the Clare region; 58.9% in the Limerick and East Clare area; and 60% uptake in the North Tipperary and East Limerick region.