If you work with young women, this is important news for you!
Earlier this year, BC launched a one-time free HPV vaccine program for all women born in 1991, 1992, and 1993. This is the first time that women born in these years are eligible for a publicly funded HPV vaccine.
The HPV vaccine, Cervarix, was chosen for this one-time program in order to maximize the number of age cohorts who could be offered the vaccine. Cervarix does not provide protection against genital warts as the HPV vaccine Gardasil (used in the school-based program) does, however, both vaccines provide comparable and very high levels of protection against cancer of the cervix.
All eligible young women presenting at your clinic should be offered this vaccine unless they have contraindications or have already completed the series of HPV vaccinations. Cervarix is given as a series of three doses over a period of six months. It’s important that you share with your clients that they may need to purchase subsequent doses as this is a limited-time program, with only a finite quantity of vaccine.
Although the HPV vaccine works best when girls and women are vaccinated before they become sexually active, the vaccine is still recommended for women who are already sexually active. This is because they may not have been infected with HPV during previous sexual activity, and are unlikely to be infected with both types of HPV contained in the vaccine.
For those women receiving the vaccine, please note that a record of immunization must be submitted for entry into the electronic immunization registry. There’s also a handy reminder tool that young women can now use to be reminded of future doses. Feel free to share this new reminder tool with any of your patients receiving vaccines.
For more information about this one-time program and for online resources, please visit the health professionals section of ImmunizeBC. You can also refer your clients to dontgetcancer.ca for more information on HPV and vaccinations.