An immediate plan to administer HPV vaccine to students is urgently required, Clare Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway has said.
“The Minister for Health with the Health Service Executive need to implement an action plan to catch up on the backlog of students waiting on HPV vaccines. They also need to ensure the 2021 cohort of students receive the vaccine.
“The HPV vaccines programme is in crisis with rates dropping from over 80pc in 2019 to 53pc in 2020. Without immediate action, we will be failing to deal with a preventable cancer,” Senator Conway, who is Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on Health, said.
“The vaccine programme can be managed in a very safe manner. We need a more creative approach to catch up by engaging with our local network of pharmacists & dental practices. The Irish Pharmacy Union have publicly stated they are willing to support the HPV Programme and this needs to be actioned.
“I appreciate the Covid 19 vaccine is the top priority. However, I feel through planning and using resources available to us, the HPV vaccine programme can work alongside it.
“As a Clare person, I am acutely aware of the legacy of Laura Brennan, who during her life did amazing work to raise awareness and arrest the trend of vaccine hesitancy. Just over two years ago, Laura passed away from cervical cancer aged just 26.
“In recent weeks, Laura’s family are bravely carrying on her work and have called for the HPV vaccine programme to be reinstated to the current public health agenda. I fully support this.
“We cannot afford to lose this momentum for the programme and ultimately, the HPV vaccine will save lives,” Senator Conway said.