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Minister to launch HPV vaccine for boys next week

The vaccination programme was rolled out to teenage girls in 2010, but the government committed to making it available to boys in secondary school from September.

Image: Shutterstock/Lesterman

THE HPV VACCINE for boys is to be launched by the Health Minister Simon Harris next week. 

The vaccination programme was rolled out to teenage girls in 2010, but the government committed to making it available to boys in secondary school from this September.

“We’re making real progress in relation to vaccination, I believe we’re beginning to win the battle in terms of debunking the myths and the misinformation,” said Harris, confirming that he plans to launch the vaccine for boys early next week.

He commended patient advocates, politicians and medical experts for “calling out the nonsense” and “defending the life-saving vaccine”.

Harris said extending the vaccine to boys is one of the key actions that will help the government achieve their ambitions of effectively “eradicating cervical cancer in our country within a generation”.

“It can be done,” he said.

HPV is very common virus, and the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide. Most HPV infections have no noticeable symptoms and over 90% are cleared by the body’s immune system. But in some cases, HPV can develop into cancer in both men and women.

In Ireland, the HSE’s free HPV Vaccination Programme is first administered to girls in their first year of secondary school. The vaccines are given in schools because studies show it leads to an increase in uptake; that and it’s easier to follow-up with second doses.

The first dose is administered in September, and the second dose is then administered six months after the first (in April). Parents are given information packs ahead of the vaccine teams’ visits, to help them make a well-educated decision on whether to give their child the vaccine.

Ahead of the campaign launch for boys, parents might want to ask questions about HPV, what it does to the body, how it can develop into cancer, and how the vaccine works. 

To answer some of those questions, TheJournal.ie asked an expert. You can read more here.

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