School HPV Vaccination Program

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September 8, 2016 by johnston00


In August 2016 the Department of Education and Skills circulated Circular 0053/2016 to Boards of Management and Principals of Post-Primary Schools and Chief Executives of the Education an Training Boards.  The purpose of this circular was to deliver a letter from the HSE to principals and to inform principals of the proposed vaccination programme for the 2016/2017 school year. Also included was a fact sheet on the HPV vaccines and cervical cancer.

The HSE letter was from Dr Kevin Kelleher Assistant National Director of Health and Well-Being – Public Health & Child Health.  In his letter Dr Kevin Kelleher asks principals ‘Please only distribute these HSE information materials about the vaccination programme and do not forward any other non HSE vaccine information to parents’.

FCSSPA believes parents are entitled to all information about any vaccination their children might receive in school.

The prepared HSE leaflet has the following information

Why does the HSE request that only HSE information should be given to parents?

Parents should receive information that is

  • scientifically accurate and endorsed by national and international expert and regulatory bodies
  • in line with HIQA guidance “Communicating in Plain English” (July 2015).

The information in the HSE leaflet

  • includes all the known scientifically proven side effects from HPV vaccine
  • is prepared from the licensed documentation for the vaccine and provides links where parents can go to read further information
  • is presented in clear simple language and approved by the National Adult Literacy Agency so that it can be easily understood
  • provides link to further information on vaccine including the Patient Information Leaflet

Side effects listed by the HSE

The known side-effects are:

  • About 1 girl in 10 will get pain, swelling and redness at the injection site and/or headache.
  • About 1 girl in 100 will get nausea, pain in the vaccinated arm and mild fever.
  • About 1 girl in 1000 to 1 girl in 10,000 will get an itchy rash or hives.
  • Severe allergic reactions with difficulty breathing are very rare (about 1 in 1 million patients).
  • Occasionally girls faint after getting an injection. The girls are advised to sit down for 15 minutes after the vaccination. This helps prevent fainting.

Side effects listed by Merck (the manufacturers)

These side effects have been seen with GARDASIL. Because GARDASIL 9 is related to GARDASIL, they
may also be seen after getting GARDASIL 9:
 swollen glands (neck, armpit, or groin)
 joint pain
 unusual tiredness, weakness, or confusion
 chills
 generally feeling unwell
 leg pain
 shortness of breath
 chest pain
 aching muscles
 muscle weakness
 seizure
 bad stomach ache
 bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
 skin infection
 fainting

We understand that the vaccine being used is Gardasil which is given in 2 doses.  Merck have published notice that they are ceasing to produce Gardasil and will replace it with Gardasil 9 which is given in 3 doses.

To assist parents in being fully informed we are posting a links to patient information that we believe parents should have and read.  It is the information they receive when they buy any pharmaceuticals from paracetamol to prescription drugs.

The Merck Vaccines webpage

The Patient Information leaflet for the Gardasil Vaccination

The Merck notice of discontinuation of Gardasil

The Merck Patient Information Leaflet for Gardasil 9 (the new vaccine)

Read letter to principals from HSE

Read the HSE information leaflet



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