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

Discontent City expecting decision on injunction tomorrow

Lawyer representing individuals involved with homeless camp says he’ll be advised of judgment

Downtown Nanaimo hotel project moving forward

PEG Development submitted an updated permit application for a proposed hotel at 100 Gordon St.

Close to $10,000 worth of tools taken from construction site in Nanaimo

Theft happened overnight Sept. 12-13 on Old Slope Place

OPINION: Crowded ballot contains reasons to be encouraged

Somewhere within a list of 44 candidates, there’s a city council that can work in Nanaimo

VIDEO: International Day of Peace activities planned in Nanaimo

Unity Spiritual Education Centre of Nanaimo planning public walk, labyrinth dedication Sept. 21-22

VIDEO: International Day of Peace activities planned in Nanaimo

Unity Spiritual Education Centre of Nanaimo planning public walk, labyrinth dedication Sept. 21-22

Candidate lists finalized for Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN, school district

Nomination deadline passes in advance of Oct. 20 local government elections

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 20

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Council reverses past practice, will broadcast meetings during election campaign

Nanaimo city council votes 5-4 to continue with broadcasts

Porsche and Subaru dealerships can proceed with planning in north Nanaimo

City council unanimously allows rezoning application process to move forward

Departure Bay school parents concerned about rotating learning space

Eco-school students being taught in library and picnic areas, say parents

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

Most Read