Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (204)

Brendan Griffin


204. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the HPV vaccine. [12577/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As Minister of Health I have no remit in relation to educational programmes carried out in schools. School Boards of Management are independent bodies that work together with the Principal of the school to make decisions on visits from external bodies and/or individuals. My Department has been informed that the individual referred to is not associated with the HSE and was not acting on the HSE’s behalf.

As the HPV vaccine is preventative it is intended to be administered, if possible, before a person becomes sexually active, that is, before a person is first exposed to HPV infection. The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has now recommended that human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine should be given to all 12 year old girls and boys.

A policy decision was made to extend the HPV immunisation programme to include boys and introduce a 9-valent HPV vaccine starting in September 2019. Extending the HPV vaccine to boys will provide direct protection against HPV-related disease to boys. It also provides indirect herd protection to girls who have not been vaccinated. Another important factor includes the additional protection provided by a gender-neutral programme to vulnerable groups (for example, men who have sex with men).

The HSE National Immunisation Office are currently working towards preparing a gender-neutral HPV programme. Information materials and training on this will be available for parents and healthcare professionals in advance of the start of the gender-neutral programme.