Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that the HSE decision to offer a catch-up HPV vaccine to teenage girls, who haven’t yet been vaccinated, will protect and ultimately save lives.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting following reports that thousands of schoolgirls who did not get the cervical cancer vaccine last autumn are to be offered a second chance to receive it in the coming weeks by the HSE.
“This follows a fall-off in take-up of the vaccination in the wake of unsubstantiated claims about its safety.
“It is clear that there is unease among many parents of girls who are due to receive the HPV vaccine about potential side effects which have been circulated as part of an anti-vaccination campaign. This unease needs to be addressed otherwise young lives will continue to be put at risk.
“The evidence regarding the success rates of this vaccine is clear. Take Australia for example. It introduced the HPV vaccine in 2007 and the vaccine has already prevented one in every two cervical cancers and they have seen a decrease of up to 75pc in rates of pre cancer of the cervix over the last ten years.
“I understand parental concerns but we must trust the advice provided by health professionals, from the WHO, Irish Cancer Society and the Chief Medical Officer which confirms that the HPV vaccine is safe and can save lives.
“The HPV vaccine protects against two types of HPV that cause 73% of all cervical cancers, the second most common cancer in the country among females aged 15 to 44. In fact, an estimated 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in Ireland.
“I’m glad that these vaccines will be offered by vaccination teams as part of a catch-up programme, as I think it will have a long term health benefits to women across Cork and indeed the country as a whole,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.