HPV catch-up programme should be more broadly available

23 May 2022

With the HPV vaccine now due to be made available to women up to age 25, Labour Health spokesperson Duncan Smith TD has said the Minister should ask NIAC to assess if it should be made available for women up to the age of 45.

Deputy Smith said:

“The HPV catch-up vaccine programme should be available to far more people, and not just capped at women aged up 25. The private cost of the vaccine is anywhere up to €800 which is not affordable for most people.

“For several years the Labour Party has called for a catch-up programme for the HPV vaccine for those who missed it while in school, or didn’t get access to it in the first place so we welcome this move by the Minister. This catch up scheme has become even more important with the disruption caused by the pandemic to public health schemes and a greater public knowledge and acceptance of the value of vaccines. The Minister must also set clear targets for each of the next few years, and resource a public information campaign.

“The HSE first rolled out the HPV vaccine in 2010 in our schools, so the announcement by Minister Donnelly following NIAC advise really only covers those women who were in school from then on. It doesn’t cover men outside of secondary school, and it doesn’t provide any public access for women who decide they now want to get it to protect themselves.

“In the US, the HPV vaccine has been approved for use by women up to 45. With the Minister now asking the HSE to provide options to operationalise a catch up programme for women up to 25, he should also ask NIAC to assess whether the vaccine should be made available to all women up to age 45 who didn’t get an opportunity to be vaccinated in school.

“The announcement of the catch up programme also didn’t provide any clarity on how the HSE will extend the HPV programme to include those receiving treatment for CIN2+ lesions which was previously recommended by NIAC. Vaccination for this cohort was associated with a decreased risk of recurrent disease for women up to 45 years of age.”

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