Belfast Telegraph

Cut price cancer vaccine offered

A scheme to offer the cervical cancer vaccine to up to 150,000 teenage girls at a reduced cost has been launched.

Aviva health insurance plans to bridge the gap in the Government's nationwide HPV vaccination programme by offering third to sixth year pupils the jab for almost half price from 249 euro.

Several schools in Dublin, Cork, Meath and Limerick have already signed up to the programme, including the Eureka Secondary School in Kells, Co Meath.

Principal Caroline O'Reilly said concerned parents whose daughters did not qualify for the Government scheme wanted the vaccine.

"We are now one of the first schools in Ireland to offer our 400 girls from third to sixth year access to this vaccine through the Aviva Schools Catch Up Programme, which will help protect their health for the future," she added.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in Ireland among women aged 15 to 44. The vaccine protects against the main cancer-causing strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Earlier this month health chiefs launched a nationwide campaign to protect more than 57,000 first and second year schoolgirls for free, which it hopes will eventually save around 60 lives every year.

A recent survey of 100 parents of teenage girls showed 93% believe it would be a good thing for their daughter to receive the vaccine, but more than half found price was the main obstacle against it.

Aviva, supported by private healthcare company Point of Care, is offering parents the jab for 299 euro per student for groups of 25 or more. This includes three injections of the vaccine plus medical administration over a six month period. Aviva health insurance members will have a further reduction of 50 euro.

The vaccine usually costs between 500 and 600 euro depending on GP fees.

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