Press Release

Minister Harney Approves Introduction Of Cervical Cancer Vaccination Programme

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., announced today (Tuesday 5th August, 2008) that she has asked the HSE to prepare and submit a plan for the introduction of a HPV vaccination programme for 12 year old girls to commence in September 2009.

The Minister has considered all the advice made available to her in relation to the potential public health benefits of HPV vaccination in the prevention of cervical cancer and the wider policy implications of its possible introduction into the National Immunisation Programme.

The Minister said“I accept the expert advice that the introduction of a universal, high uptake, vaccination programme for young girls, in conjunction with population based cervical screening, could significantly reduce overall cervical cancer rates. I intend to seek Government approval for the programme and for the required funding in the autumn based on the implementation of a plan that can be shown to be cost-effective, in terms of delivery costs and uptake rates.”

The Minister said : “It is clear the main priority now is to move to the introduction of the vaccination programme for 12 year old girls to commence in Sept 2009 . Having regard for the need to prioritise in relation to budget and competing demands of other service programmes (e.g. rollout and age extension of breast screening , co-lo rectal screening) it has been decided not to put in place a “catch-up “ programme for 13-15 year olds.”

The Minister has asked the HSE to begin planning for the introduction of a HPV vaccination programme for 12 year old girls to commence in September 2009, assuming an appropriate uptake rate could be achieved. The Minister notes that uptake is a vital element in the expert advice supporting the introduction of the vaccine. Consequently, she has asked the HSE to examine and ascertain the likely uptake rates , as well as the cost of purchasing the vaccine based on the best competitive arrangements available in the market and the most efficient method of delivering the vaccine.