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. My Department asked the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to carry out a health technology assessment (HTA). Work has commenced on the HTA and is expected to be completed in 2018. Any 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.