Donegal’s Youth Councillors are encouraging young people to ‘get the facts’ about the HSE’s HPV vaccine in order to increase uptake.
The HPV vaccine schools programme is underway for all first year students in secondary school, including girls and, for the first time, boys.
Back in 2008, the Donegal Youth Council of the time campaigned for the rollout of the HPV Vaccination for girls. The current Donegal Youth Council is keen to support this important work and are campaigning to influence their peers to get informed and get vaccinated.
In preparation for this, a sub-group of youth councillors met with the HSE Area Medical Officer for a briefing on the virus, the importance of the HPV vaccination and the schools programme. The sub-group were able to ask questions so they are well informed.
When asked what messages they took from the session, one Youth Councillor said, “know where your information is coming from and get the facts” while another commented, “the vaccine is free and it can change your life.”
The next steps will be for the Youth Council to promote the key messages, to their followers via their Instagram and Twitter accounts, throughout the rollout of the school’s programme, and also through discussions with their families and friends. The Donegal Youth Council is one of 31 Comhairle na nÓg’s throughout the country, so their message will be wide-reaching.
The sub group will report back to the wider Youth Council at their next county-wide meeting. However, in the meantime, all youth councillors have received information on the campaign.
HPV is a virus that can cause cervical cancer, and other cancers in both women and men. The uptake of the HPV vaccine has a participation rate of approximately 70%, which is an increase of 20% points since 2017.