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What to do if your daughter didn't get the HPV vaccine before, but wants it now

Since September 2016 the uptake rate for the vaccine has increased from 51% to 62%.

Image: Shutterstock/MAGNIFIER

AS PART OF the HSE’s immunisation programme, they’ve launched a media campaign to encourage parents to give their daughters the HPV vaccine.

In September 2016 the uptake rate for the vaccine was at 51%; following a push from the HSE to fight misinformation about the vaccine launched in August last year, that’s increased to 62%.

The HSE said that they’re focusing on giving information to parents and teachers, and answering concerns they may have about the vaccine’s safety. It said that this information-driven approach has led to the uptake rate increase, and that more parents are opting to give their daughters the vaccine.

At the moment, the HSE’s free HPV Vaccination Programme is first administered to girls in first year. 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).

For girls aged 15 and over, the process is slightly different: they need a third dose of the vaccine for it to be effective. The first two doses are given at least six months apart and the third dose given at least three months after the second dose.

Dr Brenda Corcoran is the head of the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, and said that the they’d “strongly encourage” older girls to get the vaccine.

All first year girls are eligible for the vaccine, but older girls who missed out can still get it. Parents whose daughters are in the older classes can contact the vaccine immunisation group at their schools, or contact the HSE helpline.
  • HSE Helpline: 1850 24 1850

Corcoran said that the HSE received a number of calls this week (after the launch of the second phase of their information campaign) from parents asking could they get it for their older daughters.

She said that although the way the scheme is scheduled is for the first dose to be administered to first years in September, and the second dose in April, you can get your first, second or third dose whenever the immunology team is back at the school.

She said that because of high uptake rates of the HPV vaccine in first year in 2014, almost one in ten girls (87%) in fourth year now have received the vaccine.

Among girls in third year, 72% have it have received it, and one in two girls in second year have had it (51%). Based on figures from September, 62% or two in three girls in first year received the vaccine in September.

At the moment, the HSE’s immunisation office has recommended that the free vaccine programme be rolled out for boys, but that suggestion is still awaiting approval. Hiqa has said it won’t report until after October this year, which is one of the reasons the HSE is encouraging girls to get vaccinated.

Corcoran has said that since their focus on informing parents about the benefits of the vaccine, how it works, and the associated risks, they’ve seen an increase in uptake rates.

The uptake rates have increased across the country in every single county.

“We’re helping parents to choose to get the vaccine based on information from a trusted source of information,” she says.

“You have to go through a rigorous process to be an accredited site, and [HPV.ie] is the only HPV immunisation one.”

She said that it’s “a comfort” for parents to have a trusted source of medical information, be it from their GP, their pharmacist, or the HSE’s website.

We update it almost every day, parents can ask any queries they have and we’re usually back to them within one working day.

Read: ‘It could have saved my life’: HSE launches information campaign on the HPV vaccine

Read: HSE says people claiming to be nurses are warning against HPV vaccine on social media

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