Parents are being urged to ensure their daughters get the HPV vaccine when they are offered it in secondary school.
According to the HPV Vaccination Alliance, around two-thirds of eligible girls availed of the vaccine when offered it in secondary school last year. As a result of that one year alone, 126 will be spared a cervical cancer diagnosis and 42 lives will be saved.
The HPV Vaccination Alliance was formed by the Irish Cancer Society and is made up of 40 organisations, including health, children and women's groups. It pointed out that currently, cervical cancer kills around 90 women in Ireland every year, which is almost two per week.
Furthermore, those who survive the disease are often left with the devastating consequences of treatment, such as impaired fertility.
The alliance insisted that together with a high-quality screening service, ‘we can eliminate cervical cancer, save 90 women's lives 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," the alliance said.
Meanwhile, those who refused to get vaccinated last September now have the chance to change their mind and avail of it.
"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," the alliance said.
It made its comments to coincide with International HPV Awareness Day (March 4). For more information on the HPV Vaccination Alliance, click here
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