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Free HPV vaccine for young people will help to boost take up – Conway

Conway seeks waiver of costs for those who latterly avail of the vaccine

29th September 2021 - Senator Martin Conway

Waiving costs for those who latterly avail of the HPV Vaccine will help boost take up, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

This week in the Seanad, Senator Conway raised the matter of the vaccine and asked Minister of State Anne Rabbitte to eliminate the cost where a person latterly decides to take up the vaccine. The Minister confirmed that she wishes to  ensure we make the vaccine available free of charge to all young people under 24 years and a package is being prepared.

Senator Conway said, “The cost of the HPV vaccine is a punitive €600 and is extremely off-putting for people who decided latterly to take up the vaccine, having not done so when the opportunity was initially available in schools.

“Great work has been done in encouraging parents to see the obvious health benefits of vaccination but this cost can be a barrier to them deciding to bring a young person to be vaccinated.

“These young people may have been offered the vaccine six or 12 months previously for free in school but were unable or didn’t wish to take it up for whatever the reason.

“This week in the Seanad I asked the Minister of State in the Department of Health, Anne Rabbitte to look at eliminating this cost because it would make vaccination far more attractive for people who were initially hesitant. She confirmed we must ensure we make the vaccine available free of charge to all young people under 24 years and that a package is being prepared.

“The current record uptake rate for the HPV vaccine in the 2020-21 academic year is over 73% and it is thought that the figure is probably higher because the administrative staff have not updated it. The Minister confirmed to me that the goal is to raise this up to 100% and I applaud that. Anything we can do to improve the take up rate protects lives, and ensuring that cost is not a barrier is a very important element to this.

“Renowned campaign Laura Brennan was from Ennis and is a continuing inspiration to people in Clare and across the county. We owe to her and the many other women who have fought so bravely on this issue, to ensure we have the highest take up rate possible of the HPV vaccine.

“The Minister also confirmed to me that all Community Healthcare Organisations have plans to recommence their school programme this month, which will see the continued roll-out of the HPV vaccine and I encourage all pupils to take it up to protect their health,” Senator Conway concluded.

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