B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

B.C. has one of the lowest provincial registration rates across Canada for the HPV vaccination program.

At below 67 per cent, B.C. Cancer officials are both concerned and mystified why a research-proven treatment against a virus that causes cervical cancer doesn’t have a greater participation uptake.

John Spinelli, vice-president, population oncology with B.C. Cancer, says a joint effort this year by his organization along with B.C. Centre for Disease Control, B.C. Women’s Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority aims to raise the vaccine program enrolment rate.

Parents and caregivers for Grade 6 boys and girls will receive a consent letter for their children to be administered the HPV vaccine.

“We obviously want to see that vaccine participation rate as high as possible,” he said.

Related: Confronted by a cervical cancer diagnosis

He said about 200 women in B.C. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 50 die from it.

“It’s not necessarily a huge type of cancer in terms of the numbers impacted, but this vaccine can help prevent it from occurring,” Spinelli said.

“The more we learn about viruses and how they increase the occurrence of specific types of cancer, the more we can look at specific vaccinations that eliminate those virus risks, that following this path will help detect and reduce other forms of cancer in conjunction with improving early detection cancer screening initiatives.

“That is the hope but we are not there yet. Right now it is about early detection and lifestyle prevention measures, such as not smoking, where the success stories are.”

Spinelli said the Internet offers a soundboard for many to voice their health concerns about the HPV vaccination, most of which are discounted by science and research results on an international scale.

“We just want to get the message out there this vaccine is a safe program, it’s been around for a long time, is effective, and actually prevents people from getting this form of cancer,” he said.

Spinelli thinks a correlation exists among many parents that administering the vaccine leads to sexual promiscuity among youth, an accusation he says that has no conclusive research merit.

He says the connection of the virus being sexually transmitted plays into those fears.

“There is no evidence that this actually happens and I would be shocked if it really was the case,” he said about the promiscuity connection.

The HPV vaccine was originally administered to Grade 6 girls, an age where it was felt the vaccine would have the most benefit before youth become more sexually active, which diminishes the impact of the vaccine.

It was extended to include boys, Spinelli added, because it provides added protection for girls and also there were rare cases where the virus was found to cause cancer in males.

“The girls are generally most at risk but what we have learned over time is it was also beneficial for boys to be vaccinated as well,” he said.

For more information about the HPV vaccine, check out www.immunizebc.ca.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

North Coast figure skater to star in Dancing On Ice

Carlotta Edwards learned to skate in Prince Rupert, before becoming a star with millions of viewers

Clearwater RCMP weekly police report

Clearwater RCMP responded to 38 calls for service over this past week

Shop Local campaign in full swing

Campaign offers inventive to shop at community businesses

To the community of Clearwater:

We live and give with largeness

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Wally Buono exits CFL, stinging from painful playoff loss

B.C. Lions lost the Eastern semifinal to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, 48-8

Most Read