Minister for Health Simon Harris reaffirmed his stance backing the HPV vaccine after a major drop in its uptake amongst the female population.
Yesterday, Harris tweeted: “My appeal to parents re HPV vaccine is simple – get facts/info from medical experts. Talk to your doctor. Check out HPV.ie #ProtectOurFuture”
My appeal to parents re HPV vaccine is simple – get facts/info from medical experts. Talk to your doctor. Check out HPV.ie #ProtectOurFuture
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) September 3, 2017
In this month’s issue of GCN, Aifric Ní Chríodáin reported on the divisive HPV vaccine, Gardasil.
In ‘The HPV Strain’ Ní Chríodáin highlighted the immunity Gardasil provides against four strains of HPV that can cause vaginal, anal and penile cancers.
She also reported on the adverse reactions that some recipients of the vaccine have had and on anti-vaccination group REGRET which aims to dissuade parents from vaccinating their daughters.
Rates of vaccination against HPV amongst girls in secondary schools has dropped from its peak of 90% to 50% last year which the HSE is attributing to misinformation that has been spread, reports The Journal.
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) September 2, 2017
To combat this drop, the HSE has launched a new information campaign and website which aims to bolster the HPV vaccination rate amongst school-going girls.
As part of this campaign, the HSE has released a video featuring mothers and daughters explaining why they have opted to be vaccinated against HPV.
While vaccinating the female population provides a degree of ‘herd immunity’ for heterosexual males, this protection from oncogenic strains of the virus does not extend to men who have sex with men (MSM).
To ensure that MSM are protected against these four strains of HPV, the HSE has begun offering the Gardasil vaccine to gay and bi men under the age of 26.
The vaccine is being offered for free at the GMHS clinic on Dublin’s Baggot Street and requires individuals to commit to all three shots to become immunised from HPV.
In an opinion piece coinciding with ‘The HPV Strain’, Dr Andrew Rynne highlighted the fact the “the vaccination does not work well against HPV if it is an already established infection.”
He also indicated that since MSM being offered the vaccine are likely to be sexually active and have increased chances of carrying the infection already, Gardasil “may make matters worse”.
© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.