Friday, January 06, 2012

Doherty welcomes high take up of HPV vaccine for girls

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the high take up rate for the first year of the nationwide HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccination campaign for schoolgirls. New figures released by the HSE show that there’s been an 82% take up in the jab, which protects against cervical cancer.

“The nationwide rollout of the HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccination was a commitment in the Programme for Government. The programme started on small scale in May, and a catch up programme was subsequently launched in September to ensure as many girls as possible in secondary school could avail of the vaccine.

“The HPV vaccine is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through advances in modern medicine. Every year in Ireland, 250 women get cervical cancer, and 80 women die from the disease. It’s estimated that 70% of cervical cancers are caused by strains of the Human Papilloma Virus. Now, thanks to this vaccine, young girls can be protected from these strains, greatly reducing their chance of developing cervical cancer in later life.

“Today’s HSE figures show the rollout programme has been a major success in its first year of implementation. There has been an 82% take up, and in the Dublin North East region that figures rises to almost 85%.

“The HPV vaccine is given in three doses, and it’s most encouraging to see that 97% of girls who got the first dose went on to complete the three dose schedule. I would like to commend the parents around the country who have opted to allow their daughters to receive the vaccination. Credit must also be given to the HSE immunisation teams who have rolled out the programme so efficiently and effectively.

“This programme will help save lives, and prevent young girls from going through a devastating illness later in life. The decision by the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to extend the vaccination programme was a progressive move and one that will significantly benefit the health of women in this country in the years ahead.

“I would encourage the parents of schoolgirls who have not yet received the vaccine to take a close look at the information pack they should receive from the HSE, and think carefully about the benefits the vaccine can offer. It’s also important to add that the vaccine protects against seven out of ten cervical cancers, so girls will still need to get regular smear tests when they are older.”

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