Statement from the HPV Vaccination Alliance to mark International HPV Awareness Day, Monday 4 March:
Parents across Ireland can potentially save their teenage daughters’ lives by ensuring they get the HPV vaccine. The 40 health, children, women’s and civil society groups that form the HPV Vaccination Alliance urge parents to ensure their daughters get vaccinated when immunisation teams visit their schools this month.
Around two-in-three girls availed of the HPV vaccine when offered to them in the last school year. As a result, of those who got the vaccine last year alone, 126 will be spared a devastating cervical cancer diagnosis, and 42 of these lives will be saved.
But we can save many more lives. Currently cervical cancer kills 90 women in Ireland each year – almost two women each week. Those who survive are often left with the devastating impacts of treatment like never being able to have children.
Together with a screening service of the highest quality, we can eliminate cervical cancer, save 90 women’s lives in Ireland each year, and spare 2,500 women* a life-changing diagnosis of this disease in the decades ahead.
The HPV vaccine is safe and saves lives. It is necessary for anyone assigned female at birth regardless of their gender identity (for example trans men). To those girls who received the first dose of the vaccine in September, we urge their parents to ensure they get the second dose this month for best protection.
Those who said no to the vaccine in autumn now have a chance to change their mind. We encourage them to seek credible information about this vaccine. It is really important parents base their decisions on medical advice and scientific evidence and don’t allow themselves to be misled by dangerous and discredited anti-vaccination myths on social media.
*Source: Impact of scaled up human papillomavirus vaccination and cervical screening and the potential for global elimination of cervical cancer in 181 countries, 2020–99: a modelling study. Published in ‘Lancet Oncology’, Feb 2019