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Timelines in rollout of HPV vax to boys must be adhered to

7 August 2018

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour Party Health Spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has welcomed the decision to start the process of extending the HPV vaccine to boys. 

Deputy Kelly said:

“The announcement that the Minister for Health has been instructed to start the process of extending the HPV vaccine to boys is extremely welcome.

“The Labour Party has been leading the campaign on extending the HPV vaccine to young boys and we have worked hard to ensure cross-Party support and political will to providing the vaccine to boys.

“Earlier this year, the Dáil passed my motion to fully back the current HPV vaccine programme and to extend this initiative to teenage boys.

“The timeline that the Taoiseach has set out must be adhered to so that we can have herd immunity and protect the population into the future.

“HPV is associated with 99% of all cervical cancers. Fortunately the HPV vaccine protects against the four strains of the virus which are implicated in most cases of cervical cancer. It is absolutely vital that young girls avail of this life-saving HPV vaccine, which together with regular screening when in their 20s, can help protect against cervical cancer later in life.

“What is so tragic is that this type of cancer is unique in the level of preventative measures available before it progresses to this point, one of which is the HPV vaccine.

“At this stage it is necessary that the vaccine be extended to boys in first year of secondary school, because they can also develop HPV associated cancers in later life, such as oropharyngeal cancer, penile cancer and genital warts in men and women.

“Extending the HPV vaccine to boys is a common-sense, evidence based measure which is already in place in countries like Australia.

“As the new school year draws closer, the momentum behind the uptake of girls getting the vaccine must be continued. This year, we need to ensure that there is another rise in teenage girls receiving the vaccine.

“The preliminary HIQA report and the commitment by the Taoiseach on extending the HPV vaccine to young boys has shown that common sense has prevailed.”