Next steps in extending HPV vaccine must be examined

27 August 2019

Labour Party Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD has welcomed the extension of the HPV vaccine to boys and has said that Minister Harris must now examine the next steps in providing the HPV vaccine to those who did not have the opportunity to get the vaccine.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Today is a particularly poignant day for those of us who have campaigned to extend the HPV to boys.

“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.

“In April 2018, the Dáil passed passed my motion to fully back the current HPV vaccine programme and to extend this initiative to teenage boys.

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

“No doubt this move will be rubbished by the usual quarters but the facts cannot be ignored and we must trust the findings of medical professionals. We should challenge misinformed and lazily researched comments on the HPV vaccine to ensure that a misinformation campaign isn’t allowed to gain momentum.

“This move is one to be welcomed, but we must also think about what comes next when it comes to preventing HPV and eradicating cervical cancers. We need to have a national conversation on extending the HPV vaccine to men and women up to the age of 45, like they have started to do in the USA. 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.

“Next year I hope we will be celebrating that high numbers of girls and boys have received the HPV vaccine and the Minister for Health will have outlined how we will provide this vital vaccine beyond this cohort.”

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