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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rain storm causes Cowichan River to change course

Hatching fish to be monitored this spring

Business notes: CVRD sponsoring Green Business category at Black Tie Awards

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is once again partnering with the Duncan… Continue reading

Brentwood jr. girls playing at B.C. hoops championship

Brentwood College School’s junior girls basketball team is making history this week.… Continue reading

Lake Cowichan, Duncan to host Masters Curling Championship

Begining next Tuesday and running until March 8

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Endangered butterfly species to be reintroduced to Hornby Island

Hornby Island is about to play a major role in the saving… Continue reading

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Nanaimo woman to compete in new season of ‘Big Brother Canada’

Carol Rosher, a cancer survivor, is one of 16 houseguests appearing on reality TV show

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Most Read