Teens refuse vaccine

The Timaru Herald 19 March 2009

Less than 50 per cent of South Canterbury schoolgirls aged between 12 and 16 have consented to have the HPV vaccination. Public health nurses have passed the halfway point in vaccinating against human papillomavirus (HPV). About 130 HPV types have been identified. Some HPV types can cause warts or some types of cancer, while others have no symptoms. South Canterbury District Health Board clinical leader of public health nursing, Judy Cooper, said 16 schools had received visits from public health nurses over the past two weeks to vaccinate girls aged between 12 and 18. Girls younger than 16 require parental consent.

This is the second-phase of the immunisation programme rolled out from March 2. By tomorrow, all schools with girls participating in the HPV vaccination programme will have been visited for the first dose. So far 76 per cent of consent forms have been returned by students, Ms Cooper said. Of those returned, 49 per cent had consented to the vaccine. She expected this figure to rise above 50 per cent as more forms came back.