The HPV vaccine is now available to boys, as well as girls in Carlow after a Government decision to extend it, according to Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering.
In a statement, he said; "My colleague the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has confirmed to me that boys in first year in school can now avail of the same HPV vaccine that, up to now, has been available to girls."
HPV is a virus that can cause cervical cancer, and other cancers in both women and men.
He added: "The HPV vaccine is very successful, protecting young people from nine out of ten HPV related cancers and so it is great to see this extended to boys now also.
"According to the HSE, with high uptake of the HPV vaccine there is the potential to save 112 lives each year by preventing the most common strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer and other cancers.
"I want to get out a strong message to young girls and boys, as well as parents, that vaccination works, and saves lives.
"I was really pleased to hear Minister Harris confirm that he will soon launch a new vaccine alliance to promote vaccination and we aim to pass an all-party motion on the matter in the Dáil in September.
"Minister Harris also says he will write to social media companies this week seeking to meet them to discuss how we can work together to promote factual information about vaccines and stop the spread of misinformation and disinformation.”
Endorsing the Vaccination Programme, Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said: "I am delighted to launch this year's HPV vaccine programme, including boys for the first time.
"Today is an important milestone on the path to our goal – the effective eradication of cervical cancer. In all that we do to advance that, we continue to be inspired by one incredible woman who is sadly no longer with us.
"Associated by many with the simple phrase ‘Thank you, Laura’, it is always with great gratitude that we remember Laura Brennan.
"We might have been launching this latest campaign with uptake for the vaccine still as low as 50%. But thanks to Laura’s passionate advocacy, we are building now from an increased rate of 70%.
"Laura's work has been so important and highlights why it remains so vital that parents are provided with accurate and credible information to help them to make a fully informed decision concerning HPV vaccination.
“Get the facts at www.immunisation.ie and ensure that they receive this life-saving vaccine.
"I would also like to remind parents that it is not too late for girls who missed the vaccine in previous years. Any parents who have reconsidered their decision and are seeking the vaccine for their daughters can use the HSE catch-up service."
Deputy Deering added: "Schools across Carlow will soon receive information packs in advance of the HSE Vaccination Teams starting their scheduled post primary school visits in September.
"The HSE will also release information videos in relation to the vaccine so keep an eye on immunisation.ie and the HSE’s social media.
"I encourage parents to read all the information available, informed themselves and ensure their children are vaccinated and protected."
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