The HPV vaccination programme against cervical cancer is to begin this month, Minister for Health Mary Harney has confirmed.
Up to 30,000 girls in first year at secondary schools across the country are to be offered the cervical cancer vaccine from May 17th.
The first schools will be visited during the week of May 17th, with the remainder of schools starting the programme in September 2010.
Ms Harney said during 2010, all girls currently in first year and those entering first year in September next will be offered the vaccination.
“This programme represents an effective public health protection measure and is an important element to our already well developed cancer prevention and control strategy," she said.
Dr Kevin Kelleher, head of health protection with the HSE said the vaccination programme "is about the protection of the future health of this generation of young girls in Ireland”.
The clear impact of the programme in the prevention of cervical cancer will most likely be seen in 20 to 30 years, he added.