Cancer vaccine scheme begins


Health insurer Aviva today launched a cervical cancer vaccination programme for girls in 3rd to 6th year of secondary school.

The insurer said the ‘Catch Up’ programme in partnership with Point of Care is intended to bridge the gap in the State’s vaccination programme which began in 21 schools before the summer break.

That programme offers the vaccine free of charge to all girls attending the first and second year of second level schools.

Aviva’s scheme will cost €299 per student in groups of 25 or more students and includes the cost of three injections of the vaccine plus medical administration over a six month period. A reduction of €50 is offered to current Aviva members.

The insurer said 29 schools have expressed an interest in the programme and a number of schools in Dublin, Cork, Meath and Limerick have already signed up. Vaccinations are expected begin this month.

The Government’s HPV vaccination programme will help protect more than 57,000 schoolgirls from developing cervical cancer as adults.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in Ireland among women aged 15 to 44 and it is hoped the vaccine will eventually save 60 lives every year.

The HPV vaccine, most effective when given before girls become sexually active, guards against the most common, but not all, strains of the HPV virus which causes cervical cancer. Regular cervical smear tests are also recommended.