The offer is open until the end of 2023.
Since December 2022, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has been offering a catch-up opportunity to anyone who may have previously been eligible but did not avail of the chance to get the HPV vaccine as part of the HSE’s School Immunisation Programme.
Now, eligible females and males can receive the HPV vaccine for free through the Laura Brennan HPV Catch-up Vaccination Programme, as long as they have not received it before.
While the programme continues to cater to all unvaccinated females who have left second-level education and are 24 years old or younger on the date of the offer of vaccination, it has also been expanded to include more cohorts.
All unvaccinated students between 2nd and 6th years in second-level education have the opportunity to get the HPV vaccines, as do all unvaccinated males who have left second-level education and are 21 years old or younger on the date of the offer of vaccination.
Consultant in Public Health Medicine and National Immunisations Lead at the HSE National Immunisation Office, Dr. Lucy Jessop, says while this virus is more often than not linked to cervical cancer, males can also be affected.
“The HPV vaccine has been offered to girls in first year in secondary school since 2010. This is because the most common cancer caused by the HPV virus is cervical cancer.
“However, the HPV virus can cause other cancers and conditions that can affect boys and men, and since September 2019, boys have also been offered the HPV vaccine.”
Dr. Jessop adds that HPV does not go away on its own and can cause certain kinds of cancer to grow, adding that, in males, these include oropharyngeal cancer, anal cancer, and penile cancer.
She welcomes the Minister’s recent announcement about the expansion of the Laura Brennan HPV Catch-up Vaccination Programme as it provides an additional opportunity for people to be vaccinated and encourages young people to do so to limit the spread of HPV.
“Most people only need 1 dose of HPV vaccine, and I would encourage people to avail of this opportunity as, until the end of 2023, the vaccine will be available for free through HSE vaccination clinics.”
The free vaccines are being administered through the HSE vaccination clinic in your area, and booking can be done at www.hpv.ie, as well as more information.
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