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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
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Family of Laura Brennan say today is a 'bittersweet day' as the HPV vaccine is extended to boys

First-year students will be able to get the HPV vaccine this September.

Laura Brennan, who died of cervical cancer after campaigning for the HPV vaccine.
Laura Brennan, who died of cervical cancer after campaigning for the HPV vaccine.

THE FAMILY OF HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan today urged all first-year students to get the HPV vaccination.

Health Minister Simon Harris said today was an important milestone as he extended the HPV vaccine to boys.

Speaking at the launch this morning, Brennan’s brother, Kevin Brennan, said:

“Laura poured herself into this campaign, knowing every time she told her story, it had a potential to save a life.”

Describing today as a “bittersweet day” for his family, he said his sister would still alive had she been vaccinated.

When she got diagnosed, she got in touch with the HSE to say that she wanted to get involved in the campaign to increase the vaccine uptake.

Uptake in the numbers of girls getting vaccinated increased again last year after it droppd to a low of 50%. It now stands at 70%.

Health Minister Simon Harris paid tribute to Brennan at today’s launch in Dublin.

“We all continue to be inspired and motivated by one incredible woman who is sadly longer with us, but will forever be the guiding lights on this journey associated by many with a very simple phrase. Thank you, Laura,” he said.

Harris said Brennan was a “truly inspirational woman”, and thanked her brother Kevin for speaking at the launch, and for his tireless work in getting GAA players involved in a HPV jersey campaign.

Her brother Kevin said his sister wanted to ensure that as many young people got the vaccine as possible.

The HSE has also launched a new ad campaign for the vaccine.

Dr Lucy Jessop, HSE National Director, Immunisation Office said each year about 400 men and women develop HPV related cancers and over 100 people die.

“As parents we want to do everything we can to protect our children, and ensure they’re up to date with all their vaccines,” she said.

Today’s launch is for those parents with children just starting first year in secondary school, said Dr Jessop. 

Parents are being urged to look out for the information packs with leaflets and additional information about the vaccine which will be coming home in their children’s schoolbags in the next couple of weeks. 

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