Get the Facts on the HPV Vaccine! Talk to your Pharmacist

26 August 2019: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has urged people to talk to their pharmacist if they have any questions on the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccination school-based programme will this year target both boys and girls, and the IPU is urging those eligible to be vaccinated, and their parents, to get the facts and talk to their pharmacist.

IPU Committee Member and community pharmacist Gráinne O’Leary said, “There is a lot of misinformation about the HPV vaccine, particularly on social media. This misinformation stokes unnecessary fears in young people and their parents, which can lead to a lower uptake. Your local pharmacist should be a key point of contact if you have any concerns on this, or any other vaccination. We are healthcare professionals and medicine experts, working in the heart of your local community. Talk to us, and we will be happy to chat through any concerns you have.”

The HPV vaccine saves lives and it is safe and effective. It helps prevent infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), one of the leading causes of cervical cancer and other cancers. In Ireland, almost 300 women develop cervical cancer every year and almost 90 die because of it. HPV also causes oropharyngeal, vaginal, penile and anal cancers. More than 100 million people worldwide have received the HPV vaccine, and in Ireland more than 240,000 girls have been fully vaccinated.

Ms O’Leary continued, “It is understandable that when people read negative comments about the HPV vaccine that they will have questions. What we are today asking people to do, is to bring those questions to their pharmacist, who is a highly trained medical professional and will be able to present you with the facts. Community pharmacists are the most accessible part of the healthcare system – there are over 1,900 pharmacies around the country, with half the population living within one kilometre of a pharmacy. We have long opening hours, including weekends, and we are here to help.

“There is a lot of fiction out there on this issue, and the noise around it can be overwhelming. Let us help you to cut through and noise, so you have the facts and can make an informed decision. Get the facts, talk to your pharmacist.”


For further information:

Siobhán Kane, Press and Communications Manager IPU, 087 775 1510 

Editor’s Note:

 This information initiative is being undertaken as part of a wider vaccine awareness campaign being undertaken by the IPU. We are encouraging people to get the facts and talk to their pharmacist about other vaccines too, including childhood immunisations, flu and pneumococcal vaccines.

HPV: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide. The majority of sexually active adults will contract HPV at some stage in their lives. While usually harmless, the virus can cause certain forms of cancer. It is most widely known for causing cervical cancer, which tragically claims the lives of almost 90 Irish women a year, but it can lead to other cancers including cancer of the throat.

More than 100 million people worldwide have received the HPV vaccine. Its safety has been monitored for more than 10 years by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). All have continually reported that the vaccine is safe with no known long-term side-effects.

HPV vaccine key facts:

  • More than 280 million doses of HPV vaccine have been administered in over 80 countries worldwide;
  • International research studies have shown that the vaccine is very effective. In Australia, studies have shown a 77% reduction in the types of HPV infection responsible for most cervical cancers; and
  • Younger people have a better response to the HPV vaccine which is why it is provided to students (male and female) in their first year of second-level school.