More Students Could Take Advantage of Free HPV Vaccine

Health Unit Says A Third of Grade 7 Students Aren't Getting the Shot

While an effective cancer prevention vaccine is free for students, about a third of kids are not taking advantage of it.

The HPV vaccine is being offered free from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to all grade seven students across the region, but the Health Unit says only about 68 per cent of students in Simcoe are getting it, fewer across Muskoka.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“HPV is responsible for almost all cervical cancer cases, as well as other cancers including mouth, throat, and anal cancers, but our local immunization rates against the virus are far from ideal,” said Dr. Colin Lee, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “We need to change that. This is an excellent vaccine that helps prevent cancers and saves lives.”     [/perfectpullquote]

It’s estimated about 75 per cent of Canadians will be infected by HPV in their lifetime.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“This vaccine is the easiest, most effective way to protect yourself from an HPV infection,” says Dr. Laura White, gynecologic oncologist, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH). “Almost everyone will come into contact with and acquire an HPV infection at some point in their life. It’s important that parents support vaccination in Grade 7 since the vaccine works best before individuals become sexually active. Numerous studies have shown that the benefits of this vaccine significantly outweigh the risks. When 99 per cent of cervical cancer is caused by HPV, the vaccine – combined with regular pap smears – is a simple way we can eradicate this type of cancer.”[/perfectpullquote]

HPV Prevention Week runs until October 8th