The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, along with the family of the late Laura Brennan, have announced the Laura Brennan HPV Vaccine Catch-Up Programme.
The programme, which is expected to launch in mid-November 2022, will offer free HPV vaccines to all boys and girls in second level education who were previously eligible to receive the HPV vaccine and who have not yet, for whatever reason, received it. Young women, up to the age of 25, who have now left secondary school, and who did not receive the vaccine, will also be eligible to receive the vaccine as part of the catch-up programme. The vaccine will be administered in clinics. The vaccine is administered as a single dose and is free of charge.
The human papilloma virus, or HPV, can cause cancer and genital warts in both women and men. The vaccine, which is proven to be safe and effective, protects against the types of HPV that cause 9 out of 10 cervical cancers.
Studies from Sweden and England showed that vaccination with HPV vaccine is associated with a big reduction in the risk of cervical cancer especially in people who got the HPV vaccine at 12 to 13 years of age.
Minister Donnelly said: “Laura Brennan is the epitome of inspiration for all of us. Even when faced with a terminal diagnosis, Laura dedicated herself to promoting the HPV vaccine to ensure that as few families as possible would have to go through the rigours of cancer treatment and end-of-life care as she did.
“The Laura Brennan HPV Vaccine programme is a fitting tribute to the memory and the tireless efforts Laura made to encourage young people to take up this vaccine. Vaccines save lives and, through screening and vaccination, we are working to eliminate cervical cancer in Ireland – I really cannot think of a better way to remember Laura than achieving this goal through the programme named after her.”
Bernie Brennan said: “September just gone would have been Laura’s 30th birthday. The reality of living with cancer, and then life after cancer when someone passes away means that we miss out on milestone celebrations with our loved ones. To see the HPV Catch-Up Programme named in Laura’s memory is a comfort and a testament to Laura’s dedication to increasing the uptake of the HPV vaccine. I urge all parents to discuss HPV vaccination with their children and encourage them to take it – vaccines prevent cancer. Prevention is better than cure and prevention is definitely better than no cure.”
Larry Brennan said: “It is lovely to see the HPV Catch-Up programme named after Laura. It is so important that this vaccine will be available free of charge and easily accessed for those who missed out on it in school, I hope this move increases uptake across the country. I would urge anyone who has any question about HPV vaccines to get your information from trusted sources like the HSE and the WHO. Increasing uptake of the HPV vaccine will protect women and stop them getting cervical cancer.”
1. Today it was announced that the Laura Brennan HPV Catch Up Programme will launch this November. It is an honour to have the programme named after Laura and it is testament to Laura’s dedication to increasing the uptake of the HPV vaccine while she was with us. pic.twitter.com/kqLtDsbwx6
— Kevin Brennan (@kevinbrennan52) October 13, 2022