Mayor calls for speedy rollout of HPV vaccine to teenage boys

'We have done the right thing by providing the vaccines to young women, now it is time to do the right thing by young men'

The Mayor of Galway, Labour city councillor Niall McNelis.

The Mayor of Galway, Labour city councillor Niall McNelis.

Extending the HPV vaccine, to protect against cervical cancer, to teenage boys, is a "common-sense, evidence based measure", and must be "rolled out" as soon as possible.

This is the view of the Mayor of Galway, Labour city councillor Niall McNelis, who has welcomed HIQA’s announcement of a public consultation on extending HPV vaccination programme to include boys. While he has called it "a very welcome announcement" he is calling for "a speedy conclusion" to the consultations in order that the vaccine can start to be administered quickly.

The Mayor pointed out that HPV is associated with 99 per cent of all cervical cancers. The HPV vaccine protects against the four strains of the virus which are implicated in most cases of cervical cancer. A similar programme to the one being proposed for the State is already in place in countries like Australia.

“We have already done the right thing by providing the vaccines to young women, and now it is time to do the right thing by young men," he said. "HPV is one of the most common viral infections. Every year, over 500 cases of HPV related cancers are diagnosed in Ireland, including in male patients. What is so tragic is that these types of cancers are unique in the level of preventative measures available before they progress to this point, one of which is the HPV vaccine."

Earlier this year, the Dáil passed Labour spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly's motion to fully back the current HPV vaccine programme and to extend this initiative to teenage boys. In a Tweet on Tuesday, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris said: "I want to extend the HPV vaccine to boys" and urged the public to have its say "between now and the start of September" on the Health Information and Quality Authority's national public consultation process on extending the HPV vaccination programme to adolescent males.

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