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Vaccination Programme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 3 July 2018

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Questions (277)

Pat Deering


277. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health his plans to administer the human papilloma virus, HPV, vaccine to teenage boys; the timeframe for same; the age at which boys will be included in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28728/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am pleased by the support for HPV immunisation programme as evidenced by the motion passed unanimously by this House on 28 March last.

The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. The committee's recommendations are informed by public health advice and international best practice. All relevant and appropriate information is taken into account when deciding to make changes to the State's immunisation programmes. NIAC has made a recommendation that the HPV vaccine should be given to boys.

The Health Information and Quality Authority is undertaking a health technology assessment, at the request of my Department, on extending the national immunisation schedule to include HPV vaccination to boys. This HTA will establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of providing the vaccine to boys and is expected in Q4 2018. The decision to extend the current programme which offers HPV vaccination to all girls in their first year of second-level education to a programme that also offers vaccination to boys will be informed by the evidence contained in the HTA.

The process to enable an informed decision concerning the extension of the current HPV immunisation programme is at an advanced stage. Once it is concluded, and subject to a favourable recommendation from HTA, I will seek to extend this vaccine universally as a priority.