27 October 2016

HPV vaccine reminder

WA Health is reminding parents of Year 8 students, and students themselves, that it is necessary to receive all three human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine doses to ensure maximum protection from genital warts and some cancers.

Each year, Western Australian Year 8 students are offered the HPV vaccine as part of the free immunisation program offered through secondary schools. Vaccines are available free to every Year 8 student whose parents signed the appropriate consent form provided at the start of the school year.

The HPV vaccine protects against two HPV types that are known to cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer in women. It also protects males from 90 per cent of HPV types that cause cancers of the penis, anus and throat. The vaccine also protects against an additional two HPV types that cause 90 per cent of genital warts in both sexes.

Department of Health Medical Coordinator Prevention Control Program, Professor Paul Effler said that while many students received the first vaccine, which included a booster dose of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines, many did not complete the three-dose HPV vaccine program.

“In 2015, data indicates that 99 per cent of both female and male students who consented to receive the HPV vaccine received the first dose,” Professor Effler said.

“However numbers dropped for each consecutive dose, with 97 per cent of females and 96 per cent of males receiving the second dose and only 90 per cent of females and 89 per cent of male students receiving the third and final dose.

“These numbers are concerning because they show that up to 10 per cent of participants in the program do not receive the full dose of vaccination – meaning they do not receive maximum protection.

“The vaccine will help prevent cancer and disease later in life, and it is important that both students and their parents realise the value of receiving the full vaccination dose.”

Students who miss a vaccination at school should visit their GP or immunisation provider to receive the full course of the vaccine. Although the vaccine is free, some immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee for administering the vaccine.

A video with more information about the school-based immunisations can be found in the Healthy Living section on the Healthy WA website: http://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/immunisation

ENDS

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