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*Kevin Brennan, Colin Brennan, Cllr Mary Howard, Bernie Brennan, Michael McTigue, Larry Brennan and Fergal Brennan at the unveiling of a memorial to Laura Brennan in Ennis. Photograph: John O’Neill

Vaccination centres all over the country should be used as part of a ‘catch-up programme’ for the administration of the HPV vaccine, Clare councillors have said.

An appeal has been issued to Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF) this week looking for vaccination centres, vaccinators and pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine.

In a proposal before Clare County Council, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) stated that it was timely for the Department of Health to take such action “now that we have an efficient and effective Covid Vaccination Programme”.

As well as using the centres for a ‘catch-up programme’, Cllr Howard asked that the Minister offer the vaccine free of charge to all secondary schools.

Speaking at the July meeting of the County Council, the Ennis woman said she had been spending a lot of time with family of the late advocate Laura Brennan in recent weeks, “they and I are concerned with the rollout of the HPV vaccine”.

From 2019 to 2020, the uptake of the HPV vaccine was 82 percent for the first dose and 77 percent for the second. Latest estimations have the current uptake at 63 percent following a pause of the programme for the 2021 academic year due to COVID-19 and the redeployment of staff within the Department.

“These vaccination centres will be here for a while yet,” Cllr Howard commented. Up to 1100 pharmacists are willing to come on board and back the request, she stated. Clare has done pretty well with catching up on the programme but the same cannot be said for all counties., Howard highlighted. “I am anxious that we would bring this forward to other Councils, it is a sensible and practical way of doing it”.

Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) seconded what she described as “a fantastic motion”. “Anyone that does go into the vaccination centre have all said the efficiency is second to none, why not use it and get the HPV vaccination in there,” the Shannon representative remarked.

Further support was voiced by Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF), “the existing infrastructure is in place, if it can assist to increase the uptake of the HPV vaccine of course it should be used”.

Following through on the request would ease the workload of the Department, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) flagged. “This is a brilliant common sense motion,” he commented and added, “I hate duplication in any process”.

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