There’s been a dramatic drop in the number of schoolgirls across the Shannonside region getting the life saving HPV vaccination.
New figures show that more than 600 eligible girls declined the offer of the cancer vaccine in the 2015-16 school year.
Roscommon saw one of the steepest falls in the country with just 67 per cent of girls receiving the vaccine in the 2015/2016 school year down from nearly 87 per cent the previous year.
In Longford and Westmeath, 336 girls declined the vaccine, so just over 69 per cent got it, compared to more than 87 per cent previously.
And in Sligo/Leitrim, there was a 16 per cent fall in the number of schoolgirls who availed of the vaccine that protects women against strains of the human papilloma virus, which cause seven in ten cases of cervical cancer.
Provisional national figures show that the uptake fell even more sharply in 2016-17, dropping as low as 50 per cent as fears about alleged side effects have risen.
Donal Buggy, the head of services and advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society, said more than 80 million cases of people getting the vaccine have now been analysed and found no evidence to support these fears.