HPV Immunization Launched

Health Promotion and Protection (To Jan. 11)

June 20, 2007 11:16 AM

Young Nova Scotia women will be among the first in Canada to receive a publicly funded vaccination for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer, under a provincial program being launched this fall.
     
Females in Grade 7 will be given three doses of the HPV vaccine over a six-month period during the 2007-08 educational year as part of Nova Scotia's school-based vaccination program. Like all public health vaccinations, the HPV vaccine is not mandatory and requires consent.

"The HPV vaccine is a major advancement for women's health and another tool in the fight against cervical cancer," said Barry Barnet, Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. "We are proud to announce this latest step to help protect Nova Scotians and appreciate the federal government's financial support for this $2.8-million per year program."

HPV, which causes genital warts and cervical cancer, is a common virus transmitted through sexual activity. Most HPV infections go away on their own but some types cause persistent infection and create a risk for cervical cancer.

HPV causes almost all cervical cancers. About 1,350 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and about 400 will die. Nova Scotia suffers from the highest incidence of invasive cervical cancer in Canada.

"Canada's government is committed to advancing responsible and scientifically sound measures that protect the health of Canadian women," said federal Health Minister Tony Clement. "That is why we included the $300-million HPV vaccine program in Budget 2007, and I commend Nova Scotia for moving so quickly to make the vaccine available. This preventative measure is an important investment in the future health and well being of Canadian women."

In July 2006, Health Canada approved the first vaccine that protects against cervical cancer (Gardasil). This vaccine protects against HPV types that are responsible for about 70 per cent of cervical cancer.

In conjunction with the implementation of the HPV vaccine program, Nova Scotia will move vaccinations for Hepatitis B and Meningococcal, currently given in Grade 4, to Grade 7.

The vaccination currently offered in Grade 4 for chicken pox will be discontinued as a school-based program, but will be available from family physicians and remain funded by MSI.

A vaccination given in Grade 9 or Grade 10 for Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis will now be given in Grade 7.

"Offering all school-based immunizations in Grade 7, including the HPV vaccine, is a better fit with the curriculum and is more cost effective while being less disruptive to the the education system," said Dr. Robert Strang, deputy chief medical officer of health.     


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Teenage Nova Scotia females will be among the first in

Canada to receive a publicly funded vaccination for HPV, the

leading cause of cervical cancer, under a provincial

program being launched this fall.

     Females in Grade 7 will receive three doses of the HPV

vaccine over a six-month period in the 2007-2008 school year as

part of Nova Scotia's school-based vaccination program. The HPV

vaccine is not mandatory and requires consent.

     Barry Barnet, Minister of Health Promotion and Protection,

says the HPV vaccine is a major advancement for women's health

and another tool in the fight against cervical cancer.

     More than 13-hundred Canadian women are diagnosed with

cervical cancer each year and about 400 die annually.

     Nova Scotia's school-based vaccination program will also see

other changes. Vaccinations for Hepatitis B and Meningococcal

will be moved from Grade 4 to Grade 7.

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Media Contacts: Bretton Loney
                Health Promotion and Protection
                902-424-6527
                E-Mail: loneybm@gov.ns.ca