A number of leading health figures have encouraged parents to put their teenage daughters forward for the HPV vaccine.
Minister for Health Simon Harris was joined by members of the Health Service Executive (HSE), as they launched the #ProtectOurFuture campaign, to boost support for the vaccine.
Currently, the vaccine is offered to teenage girls during their first year of secondary school. It is administered in two doses, via injection, in six-month instalments.
The vaccine is designed to protect against the Human Papilloma Virus, which is linked to various strains of cervical cancer.
While the rate of uptake for the vaccine reached 87 percent two years ago, it dropped to just 50 percent last year.
Experts reckon that the drop in uptake is down to claims that the vaccine is linked to serious illness in teens who received it.
Heart-wrenching stories have been shared by the group R.E.G.R.E.T, alleging life-altering side-effects; however, research has never backed up the claims.
While a number of groups got together to form the HPV Vaccine Alliance, supporting the message that the vaccine is safe, Minister Harris and the HSE took the campaign up a gear today.
Minister Harris called on those who were ‘scaremongering’ over the vaccine to ‘butt out’. Meanwhile, other health representatives insisted that the vaccine ‘works’.
Professor Karina Butler, Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, said: “Over 230,000 girls in Ireland have safely received the HPV vaccine, along with 227 million people worldwide in countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
“Not one of these people anywhere in the world has been medically proven to have had a long-term side-effect from getting the vaccine.
“This is a vaccine that can save lives. It works. In Scotland, where their vaccination programme has been in place since 2008, they have seen a 90 percent decrease in HPV infections. In Australia, the vaccine has prevented one in every two new cervical cancers.”
You can find out more information about the HPV vaccine through this link.