Extending the HPV vaccine to women and men up to age of 45 is common sense

20 February 2019

Responding to reports by the Lancet Oncology on eliminating Cervical Cancer, Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has said the scope is there to extend the HPV vaccine to people up to the age of 45. 

Deputy Kelly said: 

“Late last year, the FDA in the United States approved extending the administration of the HPV vaccine to women and men up the age of 45.

 “This is an extremely welcome and necessary extension and one the Health Products Regulatory Authority and Minister Simon Harris should consider implementing here in Ireland.

 “We know the political will is there to extend the HPV vaccine We’ve already worked cross-party to introduce the HPV vaccine to young boys, with the Dáil passing my motion at the start of last year.

“In the wake of the Cervical Check scandal, I have heard from so many women in their mid to late twenties and early thirties who have never received the HPV vaccine, as they weren’t in secondary school when the HPV vaccine was introduced in our schools in 2010. Extending the vaccine to this cohort would certainly put the minds of many young women who are anxious about this issue at ease.

“The research by the Lancet shows that interventions like HPV testing are completely necessary.

“It is deeply worrying that the Department of Health or HSE can’t confirm that HPV testing will happen this year. The Minister committed to the introduction of HPV testing for cervical cancer in July 2018. HIQA recommended that HPV testing should be introduced as the primary cervical screening method back in May 2017 so much of the preparatory research in how this scheme could work in the context of the Irish health service has already been carried out. The evidence shows that HPV testing has been a success in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands and if we are serious about eradicating cervical cancer here in Ireland then a timeline for its introduction in 2019 is critical.”

“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.

“The Scally Report indicated how we can ensure there will be no more scenarios like the Cervical Check scandal, extending the age limit of the HPV vaccine would go a long way to reassuring women.”

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