Cancer vaccine drive not trusted

Parents cautious of new drug
Manawatu Standard 25 April 2009

The slow uptake of the HPV vaccination among New Zealand schoolgirls is stunning and shows an “absolute distrust” of the way it’s been marketed, says Women’s Health Action policy analyst Christy Parker. Preliminary figures from the Health Ministry show only 8 per cent of 12 to 17-year-olds have had the first of three injections although not all of the figures are in. MidCentral Health had vaccinated 14 per cent of the district’s eligible Year 9 to 13 girls at the end of March. Altogether, 1854 girls from Year 8 to 13 had had the first of three shots. The uptake has been higher for 18 and 19-year-olds 18,000 women nationally, or 27 per cent of those eligible. The local figure is 30 per cent.

The Health Ministry’s chief advisor for population health Greg Simmons has put the slow uptake down to parents’ caution about something new. “We are pleased with uptake so far which has been slowly and steadily climbing over the last eight months. “We recognise that this is a new immunisation for New Zealand and understand some parents may take a wait-and-see approach.”