16/09/2010

Cervical Cancer Jabs Begin

Some 57,000 schoolgirls will receive the cervical cancer vaccination as part of the nationwide campaign, which got underway today.

The vaccine, which will help protect girls from developing cervical cancer as adults, is free of charge and is being offered to all girls attending first and second year of second level schools.

The Health Service Executive today announced that the long awaited vaccination process would begin today, despite the scheme almost being scrapped under proposed Government cuts last year.

Head of the HSE National Immunisation Office, Dr Brenda Corcoran said that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in the country among females aged 15 to 44 in Ireland.

HPV or Human Papillomavirus, is proven to cause cervical cancer and a common virus that can infect, in a dormant state, up to 80% of the population at any one time. Dr Corcoran said the vaccine, named Gardasil, is a tested and safe way of preventing certain types of the virus.

Speaking this morning ahead of the launch, 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 annually in Ireland, with around 80 deaths. It is believed the HPV vaccine will prevent at least 70% of these cases.

The parents of the girls getting the vaccine are given a detailed information booklet and consent form from the HSE.

Parents are also urged to visit the website www.hpv.ie, where they can read all about HPV and the vaccine, and see many links to international scientific information and evidence about the value and safety of the vaccine.

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.

(DW)

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