Please recommend the HPV vaccine and help us to save lives

The HSE school immunisation teams is currently offering HPV vaccine to all first year secondary school girls and I would ask all healthcare workers to help us to save lives by recommending the vaccine to those who seek our opinions, says HSE National Director for Health and Wellbeing, Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe.

As healthcare workers, friends, neighbours and colleagues often ask our advice around medical and vaccine issues and this is a chance for all of us to help save lives by promoting this life saving and perfectly safe vaccine.

All national and international scientific and regulatory bodies recommend HPV vaccine including

  • World Health Organization
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US
  • European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC)
  • International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FIGO)
  • American Society for Clinical Oncology
  • CervicalCheck in Ireland

The vaccine is already known to reduce cervical cancer developing

Australia was one of the first countries to introduce HPV vaccine and they have seen a decrease of more than 50% in rates of pre cancer of the cervix over the last ten years. Similar results have been reported from Sweden, Scotland and Denmark.

The HPV vaccine is Safe

You may have heard stories that the HPV vaccine is unsafe and causes harm.  This is simply untrue.  Over 200,000 girls in Ireland have safely received the HPV vaccine, along with 100 million people worldwide in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Not one of these people anywhere in the world has been medically proven to have had a long term side effect from getting the vaccine. Many parents are genuinely afraid to consent to HPV vaccination because of the stories they have heard about the safety of the vaccine.  Despite the scare stories, there are no ‘alternative facts’ that stand up to even the most basic medical or scientific scrutiny.   Unfortunately, there are some naturally occurring conditions that can make teenage girls unwell, but WHO and every national regulatory body in the world have said 100% that the HPV vaccine does not cause any of the alleged side effects.    In fact, international studies have found that the alleged side effects are just as common in people who have never received the HPV vaccine at all.

The vaccine is known to be most effective when given to girls aged 12 to 13 years of age

HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and saves lives.   Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide and each year in Ireland around 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 100 die from the disease. All cervical cancers are linked to high risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types.

Please take the time to visit www.hpv.ie for a wide range of information including videos and fact sheets about the vaccine, how it saves lives and its excellent safety record.

Like Ireland, every one of the many countries implementing HPV vaccination programmes are doing so in the best interest of their citizens, to maximise health, prevent disease and prolong life. Around the world, a failure to implement a HPV vaccination programme is considered to be a withholding of potentially life‐saving preventive treatment.

Thank you.