Eoin Roche from Celbridge
A Kildare garda is leading a HSE campaign to encourage parents to have their children given the HPV vaccine.
Each year in Ireland about 400 people will be diagnosed with a cancer caused by the HPV virus.
In the campaign, dad-of-two Eoin Roche (42) from Celbridge tells of his experience of undergoing treatment for a HPV-related cancer.
He hopes his story will encourage parents to get their daughters and sons vaccinated.
He said: “Last year I was diagnosed with HPV cancer in my neck.
“During treatment I decided I wanted to help in any way I could in the promotion of the HPV vaccine.
“I contacted Kevin Brennan, the brother of campaigner Laura Brennan.
“Laura’s story inspired me, as did the work of her family in the promotion of the HPV vaccine.”
In September 2019 first-year secondary school boys joined the HPV vaccination programme for the first time.
The MenACWY vaccine is also being introduced for all students in first year of secondary school.
It replaces the MenC booster that has normally been given to students and covers more meningococcal strains than previously.
Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of the HSE National Immunisation Office said: “This is the first year boys have also been offered the HPV vaccine and school teams are reporting very busy clinics across the country.
“Based on activity at our school clinics, our immunisation teams are confident that this year we’ll regain the WHO target of 80% uptake for the HPV vaccine nationally.”
The HPV vaccine is endorsed by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), the Irish Pharmacy Union, the Irish Cancer Society’s HPV Alliance and by the World Health Organization.