The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD has today announced the opening of the HSE’s online registration portal for the Laura Brennan HPV (human papilloma virus) Vaccination Catch-Up Programme.
From today, eligible people can register on www.hpv.ie for an appointment for a free vaccine which will be administered through HSE vaccination clinics and schools.
The programme is supported by Bernie and Larry Brennan, parents of the late Laura Brennan who campaigned for higher uptake of the HPV vaccine before her death from cervical cancer in 2019, aged 26.
Free HPV vaccines will be offered to all boys and girls in second-level education who were previously eligible to receive the vaccine and who have not yet received it. It is also open to young women up to the age of 25 who have left secondary school and did not previously receive the vaccine.
Minister Donnelly said: ‘It is my great honour to be joined by Laura’s family as we announce the opening of the online registration portal for the Laura Brennan HPV Vaccination Catch-Up Programme.
“They have campaigned tirelessly in the memory of their courageous daughter and have shown commendable commitment and energy in continuing to spread her message in the midst of their own immeasurable grief.
“This programme embodies Laura’s message of vaccine promotion and will encourage and facilitate further uptake of this life-saving intervention. It is by increasing HPV vaccination and screening among our population that we will finally reach our goal of eliminating cervical cancer in Ireland”.
Bernie and Larry Brennan said: “Laura was determined to do everything in her power to encourage people to get the HPV vaccine to protect their health.
“Vaccines save lives and Laura’s hope was that by speaking out, she could prevent others from losing their lives and spare other families the pain of losing a loved one.
“We’re incredibly proud that her campaigning has had such a lasting impact, and it’s comforting to know that many lives will be saved by people availing of the HPV vaccine through the programme named in her memory.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Breda Smyth said: “The Laura Brennan HPV Vaccination Catch-Up Programme is a worthy tribute in recognition of Laura’s tireless work to promote HPV vaccine uptake both in Ireland and internationally.
“I would strongly encourage all eligible young people, or their parents, to register their interest in availing of this life-saving vaccine”.
Dr Lucy Jessop, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and National Immunisation Lead at the National Immunisation Office, said:
“The HSE has been offering HPV vaccines to girls since 2010 as part of the school immunisation programme and in 2019 the programme was extended to include boys in first year of second-level schools.
“To date over 500,000 people have taken the opportunity to get fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine through that programme. The Laura Brennan HPV Vaccination Catch-Up Programme will give an additional opportunity throughout 2023 for eligible young people to get vaccinated.”
Eligible people aged 16 or over can book their appointment today at www.hpv.ie.
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Notes to editor:
The human papilloma virus, or HPV, can cause cancer and genital warts in both women and men. The vaccine, which is proven to be safe and effective, protects against the types of HPV that cause 9 out of 10 cervical cancers.
The Laura Brennan HPV Vaccination Catch-Up Programme is open to those who have not received a HPV vaccine and are:
- females who have completed second-level school and are 24 years of age or younger
- females in 2nd – 6th year of secondary school
- Males in 2nd to 4th year of secondary school (or 5th year if they have skipped transition year this school year).
The HPV vaccine will be delivered by HSE vaccinators and is available free of charge through HSE vaccination clinics and schools.
The 1st year school immunisation programme will continue as normal throughout 2023 and is not part of the catch-up programme.
From this month, eligible people who are aged 16 and older can register at www.hpv.ie to receive a HPV vaccine. From early 2023, the programme will be open to all eligible people.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee has recently advised that only one dose of HPV vaccine is required in those aged under 25. Anyone with a weak immune system will require three doses.