The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects girls from developing cervical cancer when they are adults, and which has been in the media in recent days due to fears among some that the vaccine causes health problems for some, has had an uptake of 84% in Louth, according to the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System 2017 Annual Report.
As reported back in June by the Dundalk Democrat, the immunisation rate for HPV among girls in first year of second level schools and their age equivalents by Local Health Office for the academic year 2015-2016 in Louth, was 84%.
This is among the highest in the country, where according to the report, the immunisation rate has declined across the country.
According to the report, the HPV vaccine protects women from 7 out of 10 cervical cancers. The vaccine was licensed in 2006.
To date, over 100 million people have been vaccinated with HPV vaccine worldwide including over 220,000 girls in Ireland.
The report states that research conducted all over the world has shown that it is safe and prevents cancer.
The fall in the update of the vaccination among girls is said to be due to side effects brought on by the vaccine.
One support group, R.E.G.R.E.T., was set up by parents of Irish teenage girls who have developed serious health problems after entering secondary school.
This group believe that the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) is the cause of their daughters' otherwise unexplained illness.
However, at the launch last week of the HSE's 2017/18 Schools HPV Vaccine Programme and Information Campaign, the Minister for Health Simon Harris, said,
'One of the most important things we can do is to provide accurate and credible information to enable parents to take a fully informed decision concerning HPV vaccination. We know that the HPV vaccine works and saves lives.'
In a statement today Minister Harris had this to say on the vaccine:
'The HPV vaccine saves lives and my appeal to parents is simple - get the facts and information from medical experts. Talk to your doctor. Check out HPV.ie.'