from MOHMonday 18 January 2010, 12:00AM
Media release from Bay of Plenty District Health
Girls and young women due their next HPV vaccine dose during the
school holidays are being urged to head down to Bayfair this week
to be vaccinated on the spot.
BOPDHB nurses will run the catch-up clinics between 9am-5pm on
Monday 18th and Friday 22nd January. Anyone who is enrolled at
secondary school in the Bay of Plenty or is overdue, or due for
their next dose is welcome to come along. Vaccination at other
times can be arranged by calling 021 242 1918. The vaccine is free
to all girls and young women born after 1 January 1990.
HPV schools co-ordinator Sue Stevens says it's really important
young women receive all three doses of the Gardasil vaccine to be
fully protected from HPV infection, which can lead to genital warts
and cervical cancer in some cases.
"Don't wait until school starts to get up-to-date with your
vaccinations," she says. "If girls are due their next dose, it's
better to be on time than wait until the next scheduled school
The HPV vaccine protects against the main viruses responsible
for cervical cancer and genital warts. HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
is a virus spread most commonly through sexual contact, including
intimate skin to skin contact.
Sue says on-going clinical studies show that after five years,
protection against the HPV virus remains high and suggest that
protection will last much longer - possibly for life.
"For many girls, having a sexual partner may be a long way off,
but being immunised now will mean they will be protected through
the most vulnerable years when they are most at risk of contracting
an HPV infection."
She stresses that young women who are already sexually active
should still get the vaccine as it is unlikely they would have been
exposed to all four HPV viruses the vaccine protects against.
The Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation (PHO) will
be working alongside the vaccinators, providing information and
answering questions about the HPV vaccine and the link between the
HPV virus and cervical cancer.
Four out of five women become infected with HPV at some time
during their lifetime, and while most infections clear without the
person even realising, some can lead to cervical cancer many years
later. Every year around 160 women are diagnosed with cervical
cancer in New Zealand and 60 women die from it.