The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has said he will extend the HPV vaccine to boys following recommendations by HIQA.

It is hoped the extension of a more effective version of the vaccine will be rolled out by the start of the next school year in September 2019.

HIQA has recommended that a more effective version of the HPV vaccine be given to girls and extended to boys at a cost of almost €12 million over the next five years.

Since 2010, girls in their first year of secondary school are currently offered a form of the vaccine that protects against four types of HPV.

However, HIQA has recommended that a version of the vaccine that protects against nine forms of HPV be given to girls and boys.

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HIQA Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health Technology Assessment, Dr Máirín Ryan, said providing this vaccine to both boys and girls is estimated to be more effective in tackling the virus, which is responsible for one in every 20 cases of cancer worldwide.

Dr Ryan said implementing these recommendations would prevent an estimated 101 additional cases of cervical cancer in Ireland over the next 20 years.

In total, 538 cancers associated with HPV are diagnosed in Ireland every year.

In a statement, Mr Harris said he welcomed the HIQA announcement that the proposed extension of the HPV vaccination programme to boys will be both clinically and cost effective.

"Funding has already been made available in the budget to facilitate the introduction of this initiative in 2019, subject to a favourable recommendation being made in the assessment report," he added.

Members of the HPV Vaccination Alliance have also welcomed the announcement.

"Today is a good day for the health of future generations of Irish people," Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society Averil Power said.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance said: "It is critical that planning for the roll-out of the HPV vaccine to boys gets under way immediately.

"Communicating to parents the extraordinary health benefits this vaccine provides will be a critical aspect in ensuring a high uptake rate."

The Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee Professor Karina Butler said the new HPV vaccine is not stronger but it covers a wider breadth of strains.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One, Ms Butler said the previous vaccine for girls targeted 4 different strains while the more new more effective one targets 9.

Karina Butler also said the HPV vaccine has probably been studied more than any other vaccine and the HIQA review is consistent with its findings that this is an extremely safe vaccine.

She said while some pain and swelling at the site of the injection in young people is not uncommon, there's no proof of any relationship with side effects with this vaccine.