According to the province, a recent study indicates BC’s school-based HPV immunization program is cutting pre-cancer rates in women by more than half.
Senior Researcher at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, Dr. Gina Ogilvie spoke with Vista Radio on the success of the program.
“Young women who received the vaccine were almost 60% less likely to have any high-risk types for pre-cancerous cells so that’s a very exciting story.”
“What this data shows now is that we have over 10 years of vaccine safety data and we now have even more data confirming the effectiveness of this vaccine.”
In 2018, 62% of female grade 6 students and 61.0% of boys in the same grade received the HPV vaccine in the Northern Health Region.
Overall, the province has a 68% coverage rate for the vaccine when it comes to grade six students.
Ogilvie believes the sooner you get the vaccine, the better.
“We also know that the immune system responds better when you’re younger so you have a much better chance of a robust response and that’s why we encourage young people to get it early and get into that grade six program.”
“Ninety-two percent of people got the vaccine in school and we really are privileged in BC to have a school-based program where the nurses come into the schools and they can give it to young people as part of their school day so parents don’t have to leave work to take their kids to a clinic or a physician.”
The male school-based initiative began in 2017, and Ogilvie explains what they are doing to better develop that portion of the program.
“What we hope in the next five to ten years is that we can also monitor and look for the impact on external genital lesions caused by HPV, anal cancers or penile cancers.”
Every year in BC, approximately:
- 200 women will get cervical cancer
- 50 women will die from the disease
- One-third of eligible students in the province have not been fully immunized against HPV