The HSE has today, Monday March 11, confirmed that the most recent figures for the uptake rate for the HPV vaccine is at 70%, marking an increase of 20 percentage points in just over two years.
The confirmation comes as the HSE Vaccination Teams return to second level schools across the country to administer the second dose of the vaccine to first year girls.
Confirming the most recent figures, Dr Lucy Jessop, Head of the HSE National Immunisation Office said it was “extremely encouraging and important that Ireland had achieved such a marked increase in such a relatively short period of time.”
Dr Jessop said that “the World Health Organization has remarked on Ireland’s achievements and I urge all parents to ensure they get the vaccine which is safe and effective.”
“It has been well articulated in recent months that eliminating cervical cancer is now an achievable goal, nationally and internationally. If we continue on this path and continue to increase our uptake rates, we can look forward to future generations living in a world where this cancer is eradicated.”
Dr Jessop today also paid tribute to Laura Brennan, HPV Vaccine Patient Advocate: “Laura is an incredible young woman whose intelligence, determination and fearless advocacy over the past 18 months have undoubtedly influenced parents in making the important decision to vaccinate and protect their daughters.”
Laura first provided her support to the HSE HPV Vaccine Information Campaign in April 2018 and since then has become a national and international advocate for the vaccine.
Welcoming the announcement in a video message released today, Laura Brennan said: “I am delighted at the amazing news that the uptake rate for the HPV vaccine is now 70%. That means seven in ten of this year’s first year girls that have received the first dose of the HPV vaccine and are now due the next dose.
“I’m thrilled that people are listening – listening to the reality of what life with cervical cancer is really like and finding out for themselves that this vaccine is safe and effective and along with cervical screening, it’s the best tool that we have to help us move towards eradicating cervical cancer.
Acknowledging Laura’s selfless advocacy, Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD today stated, "Laura's bravery and advocacy has continued to inspire women across the country. Despite significant challenges including the spread of dangerous anti-vaccination myths, these figures show women are continuing to get vaccinated. As Laura has strongly articulated, vaccination saves lives. I want to commend the HSE, Laura and other strong voices for continuing to show such exemplary leadership."
A HSE media campaign begins this week to coincide with the arrival of HSE vaccination teams into secondary schools. The schedule of activity includes newspapers, radio ads, search and social media.
Dr Jessop today also re-iterated the importance for parents of speaking directly with the school vaccination teams, their local GPs and their local pharmacists: “It is so important that parents access trusted sources of information and our website hpv.ie continues to be updated and continues to act as an excellent resource for everyone seeking information.”
Dr Jessop further reminded parents that a catch up facility is available for girls still in second level school: “Anyone who may have hesitated previously can contact our schools teams and get their daughter vaccinated.”
For further information regarding the HPV Vaccine visit hpv.ie