Irish Medical Organisation

IMO welcomes extension of HPV Vaccine to boys

The Irish Medical Organisation has welcomed the announcement by  Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the HPV vaccine is to be extended to boys in 2019. HPV or the Human Papillomavirus is a group of over 200 viruses which can infect skin and mucous membranes. Some strains of HPV cause cancer, including pre-cancer. These include cancer of the cervix in women,  other ano-genital cancers in men and women and cancers of the head and neck in men and women. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer caused by HPV. The vaccine is safe and effective.

Noting that the draft HIQA report is recommending the extension of the existing school-based HPV programme to include boys, Dr Ina Kelly, Chairperson of the IMO Community & Public Health Medicine Committee says that the extension of the programme to boys has the capacity to significantly reduce incidence of HPV related cancers, through adding stronger community protection from this cancer-causing infection.

Since 2010 the HPV Vaccination has been offered to all girls in first year of secondary school or equivalent and a catch up programme was offered to all sixth year girls or equivalent  between 2011 and 2014. This programme is delivered by HSE vaccination teams, led by Community Medical Doctors. The IMO looks forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the extension of the vaccination programme is adequately resourced and implemented successfully.

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