NEW data shows 26 per cent of Gympie region teenage girls are not taking advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) for free in the School Immunisation Program.
NEW data shows 26 per cent of Gympie region teenage girls are not taking advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) for free in the School Immunisation Program. Contributed

The diseases 26% of Gympie girls fail to vaccinate against

NEW data shows 26 per cent of Gympie region teenage girls are not taking advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) for free in the School Immunisation Program.

The HPV vaccine is part of the School Immunisation Program that offers students in Years 7, in more than 570 state and non-state Queensland schools, the opportunity to be vaccinated at school for free. 

Public Health physician for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Dr Andrew Langley said yesterday that in 2015, 90 per cent of 12-year-old boys and 85 per cent of 12-year-old girls in Gympie had their first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination dose recorded in Australia's HPV Register.

These figures decreased to 80 per cent and 74 per cent respectively for completion of the full three-dose course, Dr Langley said.

"Immunisation against HPV can prevent cervical and other cancers, as well as other diseases, so we want as many teenagers as possible to take up the free vaccine," Health Minister Steven Miles said. 

"HPV is a really common sexually transmitted infection which infects both men and women. It's important for people to get vaccinated early. 

"A lot of the time kids miss out on the vaccine because the consent for vaccination hasn't been returned to the school.” 

From 2018, Year 7 students in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie Hospital and Health Service are offered a free two-dose course of HPV vaccination through the School Immunisation Program.

In addition to requiring one less vaccination, the new vaccine covers five more strains of HPV for a total of nine (seven that cause cancer and two that cause warts).

These nine strains are responsible for 90 per cent of cervical, vulval and anal cancers, and 90 per cent of genital warts.

The vaccine is most effective when given in early adolescence, well before a person becomes sexually active and potentially exposed to HPV.

Parents should look out for consent cards early in the school year.'

..... 

"Immunisation against HPV can prevent cervical and other cancers, as well as other diseases, so we want as many teenagers as possible to take up the free vaccine," he said.   

"HPV is a really common sexually transmitted infection which infects both men and women. It's important for people to get vaccinated early. 

"A lot of the time kids miss out on the vaccine because the consent for vaccination hasn't been returned to the school.   

"We encourage parents to keep an eye out for the form and get your kids protected from HPV."  

Queensland's Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young said in 2017, 67 per cent of year 7 students completed the three-dose course of HPV vaccine at school. 

"Fortunately, a number of these students do go on to be vaccinated or finish their course of vaccines with their GP. Data from the National HPV Vaccination Program Register indicate that by 15 years of age, nearly 77 per cent of girls and 70 per cent of boys are fully vaccinated," Dr Young said.  

"Most people aged between 25-74 years will acquire an HPV infection within a few years of becoming sexually active if they haven't been vaccinated.  

"In most people, the infections will clear within a year. However, the virus can cause significant health issues for both men and women including cervical cancer, some head and neck cancers and genital warts. 

"A person's immune system can keep the virus under control meaning they may never show signs of the virus. 

"It has been estimated that of all the HPV infections that cause cervical cancer, 50 per cent have been acquired by age 20 and 75 per cent by the age of 30. 

"Your best protection is to be vaccinated before you become sexually active, use condoms and for women aged between 25-74 years to undergo regular cervical screening as per the National Cervical Screening Program guidelines. 

Under the National Immunisation Program, anyone aged up to 19 years who hasn't been vaccinated against HPV is also able to get the free vaccine through their usual immunisation provider (GP consultation fees may apply). 

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the National HPV vaccination program was extremely important. 

"Australia has the best cervical cancer prevention program in the world, and when screening is combined with the HPV vaccine we can save more lives and eventually eliminate cervical cancer," Ms McMillan said.  

"Being vaccinated against HPV can help prevent at least 90 per cent of cervical cancers and 90 per cent of HPV-related cancers in men.  

"Girls and boys aged 12-13 can receive the HPV vaccine free of charge through the National HPV Vaccination Program.  

"It is important parents gives consent for their children to receive the vaccination, so they are protected against HPV and we can get closer to a cancer free future." 

  • The data is from the 2018 Health of Queensland report, released this month. 

Links  

http://www.ncirs.edu.au/assets/provider_resources/fact-sheets/HPV-faq-fact-sheet.pdf 

http://www.ncirs.edu.au/assets/provider_resources/fact-sheets/human-papillomavirus-hpv-fact-sheet.pdf

Gympie Times


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