HSE: 42,000 girls immunised against causes of cervical cancers

The HSE says 42,000 girls have been immunised against HPV, which helps protect against seven out of 10 cervical cancers.

Up to 84% of first-year girls got all three doses of the vaccine last year.

Dr Brenda Corcoran, from the HSE national immunisation office, said: "The HSE are delighted to announce that 42,000 girls have now completed the three-dose course of HPV vaccine - and that means that they're protected against the types of HPV that cause seven out of 10 cervical cancers.

"So that's very good news."

Uptake rates have exceeded the targets set by the HSE year on year, according to Dr Kevin Kelleher, HSE Assistant National Director, Public Health and Child Health.

"Staff involved in the programme are to be commended for this achievement and particularly for the impressive retention of girls in the programme, given that 97% of first year girls and 93% of sixth years who received a first dose of HPV vaccine completed the 3 dose schedule These figures are better, or as good as many other countries and are a great credit to the staff of the vaccination teams."

Most of the vaccinations were administered in schools by HSE immunisation teams, with some girls being invited to HSE clinics for their vaccine.

This year the vaccine schedule will change from three to two doses at 0 and 6 months as new data has shown that two doses are effective in young girls.

In addition a Meningococcal C (Men C) booster is being introduced this year for first-year girls and boys.

This vaccine is routinely given to babies but the immunity reduces over time so a booster is recommended for teenagers to provide additional protection. This vaccine will be given at the same time as the second dose of HPV for girls and in the second or third term for boys.

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