A CITY GP has spoken about the importance of vaccinations.
Despite a vaccination for measles available as part of the annual HSE School Immunisation programme, GP John Sheehan told a meeting of the Regional Health Forum he treated his first case of measles in 15 years last year. “So it’s encouraging to see vaccination rates going up.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) target for vaccination rates is 95% of the population. Participation rates here for all vaccinations, except the HPV, are almost at this level, according to the HSE.
With cervical cancer being the second highest cause of cancer for women between the ages of 25 to 39, the HSE must also continue to promote the HPV vaccination programme, Cllr Sheehan added.
The HPV vaccine protects against human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
“No vaccination can prevent cancer entirely but this is as far as we can get.
“It’s good that the HSE have come out with a strong campaign,” he said, adding that the initial demand for the vaccination after it was introduced decreased, with many parents worried about side-effects. In the 2015 to 2016 academic year, there was a 16.8% drop in the number of first-year secondary school girls being issued the second stage of the vaccination.
An estimated 300 women in Ireland are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year; 90 women die from the disease, according to the HSE.
The HPV vaccine makes many of these deaths preventable as it vaccinates against seven out of 10 strains of the HPV virus that causes cancer, it added.
“In the last couple of years unsubstantiated, scientifically incorrect and dangerous comments have been shared suggesting the HPV vaccination causes harm to girls. These claims are untrue and are not backed by any credible scientific body,” a spokesperson for the HSE said. “Unfortunately, but understandably some parents have become hesitant to get their daughters vaccinated. To address this, the HSE has launched an HPV vaccination promotion campaign.”
Parents, students and health professionals are advised to refer to http://www.hpv.ie to get information relevant to the vaccination.