British Columbia Approves Program Providing HPV Vaccination

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HPV Vaccination

The Canadian province of British Columbia has approved a humanpapillomavirus vaccination program, but many details of the programstill need to be resolved, Health Minister George Abbott said Thursday,the CP/CNews reports (CP/CNews, 9/20).


TheCanadian government in March announced that it is including about $258million in the 2007-2008 budget to help pay for provincial HPVvaccination programs. Canada's health ministry, Health Canada,last year approved Gardasil for girls and women ages nine to 26.Gardasil in clinical trials has been shown to be 100% effective inpreventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together causeabout 70% of cervical cancer cases, and about 99% effective inpreventing HPV strains 6 and 11, which together with HPV strains 16 and18 cause about 90% of genital wart cases, among women not alreadyinfected with these strains.

According to a spokesperson for B.C.'s Ministry of Health,the national government recommended providing 40 million Canadiandollars, or about $38 million, over three years for B.C.'s program.Perry Kendall, B.C.'s medical health officer, has said that girls inthe sixth and ninth grades could begin receiving the vaccines at nocost in September 2008 because there already are provincial vaccineprograms for the grades. Kendall added that no vaccine in the provinceis mandatory and that parents can opt their daughters out of theprogram (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 8/9).

Abbottsaid he expects the vaccine would be provided to girls in sixth andninth grades but did not know whether the program would eventuallycover all young girls in the province. He added that some of thedetails to be resolved are the "point at which the initial vaccinationsare undertaken, what point in the school year and at what school levelthe vaccinations would take place" (CP/CNews, 9/20).

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