September 7, 2017 – Peterborough Public Health Hopes to Boost Student Vaccination Rates with More Powerful HPV Vaccine
Peterborough Public Health is pleased to offer local youth greater protection from cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) following the provincial government’s recent announcement that a new nine-strain vaccine will be made available to Grade 7 students this year, replacing the former four-strain vaccine.
“This is great news for our youth who can now access the HPV9 vaccine that will protect them against even more strains of this cancer-causing virus than the previous vaccine,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Without immunization, it is estimated that three out of four sexually-active Canadians will become infected with HPV, so we’re eager to offer a better vaccine that will significantly improve public health in the long run.”
Starting this September, all Grade 7 students will be offered the HPV9 vaccine at school through the school-based immunization program provided by Peterborough Public Health. For most students, the vaccine is given as two injections, six months apart. For those who receive their first dose on or after their 15th birthday, or who have a weakened immune system, the HPV vaccine is given as three injections over six months.
The local HPV vaccination rate for students for the 2015-2016 year was 60%, close to the provincial average rate of 61%. Dr. Salvaterra noted that she hoped with HPV9 available that even more local students will take advantage of this free vaccine conveniently offered in schools.
Previous to the 2017/18 school year, HPV4 was offered. The HPV9 vaccine protects against the same HPV types as the HPV4 vaccine, plus five additional HPV types that can lead to cervical, genital and anal cancers, as well as certain cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys and girls in early youth so they will be protected from HPV infections that cause cancer.
HPV is a virus that is very common around the world. There are many different types of HPV and most people with HPV do not develop any signs or symptoms. However, some types of HPV can cause cervical or penile cancer as well as other cancers and genital warts in men and women. Fortunately, infections from most common cancer-causing types of HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine.
Hepatitis B and meningococcal vaccine will also be offered free of charge at school-based vaccine clinics.
Consent forms for these three vaccines will be sent home with Grade 7 students in the coming weeks. Parents seeking further information about the HPV vaccine or their child’s vaccination status can call 705-743-1000, ext. 131, or visit www.ontario.ca/hpv.
For further information, please contact:
705-743-1000, ext. 391