THE HSE is to provide the HPV vaccine in secondary schools to first year girls and, for the first time ever, boys.
HPV is a virus that can cause cervical cancer, and other cancers in both women and men. The HPV vaccine will protect young people from HPV related cancers when they grow up.
The uptake of the HPV vaccine has a participation rate of approximately 70%, which is an increase of 20% points since 2017.
The HSE said that this major increase is thanks to the tireless work of the late Laura Brennan, who advocated for the HPV vaccine before she passed away, aged 26, six months ago.
Speaking at the event her brother, Kevin Brennan said: “Laura poured herself into this campaign, knowing every time she told her story; it had the potential to save a life.
"The increase in the uptake rates of the HPV vaccine in last year’s first year girls is bittersweet for us – we’re delighted that Laura has played a part in helping to protect so many more young people from HPV cancers.
"And the introduction of the boys to the vaccination programme is very welcome news too. But we’re all very aware of Laura’s absence today and how much she would have loved to share this occasion. As Laura would say, Get the Facts, Get the Vaccine. Protect Our Future.”
Welcoming the rolling out of the vaccine, Minister for Health Simon Harris said: “I am delighted to launch this year's HPV vaccine programme, including boys for the first time. Today is an important milestone on the path to our ultimate goal – the effective eradication of cervical cancer.
“I would also like to remind parents that it is not too late for girls who missed the vaccine in previous years. Any parents who have reconsidered their decision and are seeking the vaccine for their daughters can use the HSE catch-up service,” he said at the launch.