The Irish Cancer Society has expressed concern at the decline in the number of girls receiving the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer.
Speaking ahead of the new school term, it said provisional figures for the 2015/2016 academic year suggested that of the 31,272 schoolgirls eligible for the free vaccine, some 9,382 did not avail of it.
That take-up rate of 70 per cent was much lower than the 87 per cent rate during the 2014/2015 school year.
The society said the reduction coincided with media coverage of “alleged illnesses caused by the vaccine”.
The charity said some parents were now fearful of the vaccine and as a result it was organising a series of awareness-raising talks.
The first takes place this evening from 6.30pm at the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit, Co Galway.
It is followed by another in the Oriel Hotel, Ballincollig, Co Cork, tomorrow from 6.30pm. A range of speakers will address the one-hour meetings.