Young men and women in Limerick urged to register for free HPV vaccine

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THE HSE has urged young men and women in Limerick and across the wider Mid West region to register for the life-saving HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, which can help stave off HPV-related cancers as well as genital warts.

The call came in light of the extension of the Laura Brennan HPV Vaccine Catch-Up Programme, which sees men aged 21 and under, as well as women aged 24 or younger, eligible to register for the vaccine for free.

According to HSE Mid West, the HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause around 90 per cent of cervical cancers, up to 95 per cent of HPV-related anal cancer, and 90 per cent of genital warts.

The HSE is particularly appealing to young women who left secondary education and did not previously receive the vaccine, as well as young men in order to protect themselves and their sexual partners against HPV-related infections and cancers.

“Around one in three men can carry a strain of HPV, and one in five men can carry high-risk strains of HPV,” a statement from HSE Mid West said.

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The programme is named after the late Laura Brennan, from Ennis in County Clare, who learned at the age of 25 that she had terminal cervical cancer. She died a year later at 25 years of age.

After being given her sad diagnosis, Laura became a dedicated campaigner for the benefits of the HPV vaccine. Her family continue to campaign and promote vaccination in her memory.

Across the month of September, the HSE Mid West will be establishing pop-up vaccine clinics where those interested can receive the shot. The Primary Care Centre (PCC) in Castletroy will hold one such clinic on September 27 from 5pm to 7pm.

The Ennis PCC will also host clinics on September 13 (10am to 1pm) and September 27 (1pm to 4pm).

Dr Breda Cosgrove, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with Public Health HSE Mid-West, said: “The welcome extension of the HPV vaccine catch-up programme means we now have a great opportunity to protect more young men and women against HPV infection which can lead to cancer, such as cervical, anal, penile, throat, and oral cancers, as well as genital warts. I would strongly encourage young people to receive this safe and effective vaccine and to protect themselves against HPV.”