The PSI and HSE National Immunisation Office (NIO) would like to highlight the following important information to all pharmacists about the Human Papillomavirus vaccine.
The HSE is urging parents to protect their daughters from developing cervical cancer by availing of the free Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine which is currently being administered as part of the HSE immunisation programme in second level schools. You can read the recent HSE press release here.
Human Papillomavirus causes cervical and other cancers and is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide, and Ireland has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in Europe. HPV vaccine is safe and effective and has led to a reduction in high grade cervical lesions. High vaccine uptakes are the key to the success of this vaccine but there are concerns that uptake rates are falling in Ireland due to alleged safety issues. This is of great concern to all those involved in cancer prevention.
There is evidence that the recommendation of a known trusted health professional can lead to increased vaccine uptake. Pharmacists have an important role, as trusted healthcare professionals, to help promote and encourage vaccine uptake and raise awareness about this important public health initiative. You may be approached for advice about the vaccine, so please ensure that you and your staff have read the information available on the HSE website so that you can provide accurate and factual information, and reassurance. Factsheets and information, in multiple languages, about the vaccine, its safety and importance can be found at www.hpv.ie.
Please help to inform parents about the importance of HPV vaccine to protect girls from developing cervical cancer in the future and advise those with further questions on the vaccine to talk to their Public Health Nurse or GP.
Pharmacy Practice Development Unit