Extending HPV vaccine to boys is necessary
Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has backed the Irish Cancer Society’s call to extend the HPV vaccine to teenage boys.
Deputy Kelly said:
“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 Labour Party has been leading the conversation on extending the HPV vaccine to young boys and we have worked hard to ensure that there is cross-Party support and political will to providing the vaccine to boys.
“I fully welcome the calls from the Irish Cancer Society to extend the vaccine to boys. This is a significant call from the Irish Cancer Society and coupled with the outcome of the Dáil vote on the HPV vaccine, is one I hope the Minister for Health takes seriously.
“Every year more than 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and sadly over 90 will lose their lives.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“At the moment especially because of brave women like Vicky Phelan and Emma Mhic Mhathúna, we know how vicious cancers like cervical cancer are, if young people take the preventative measures available to them now, it will stand to them later in life.”