Parents hesitant about cervical cancer vaccination

The Press 18 May 2009

Some Canterbury parents are hesitating to get their daughters vaccinated against cervical cancer because they fear it will make the teenagers sexually active. A third of Canterbury girls eligible for the free vaccination have had the jab since the programme started last September. In Canterbury, the Gardasil vaccine is administered by GPs, while girls in other parts of the country can get the injection at school. The Canterbury District Health Board’s project manager for the Gardasil vaccine, Alison Young, said the board was pleased with the number of girls who had been vaccinated.

However, there were concerns and misconceptions that meant parents were not getting their daughters immunised, she said. “Some parents are delaying due to their daughter not being sexually active, and that 12 years is too young,” Young said. “Research has shown that the vaccination is more effective in girls nine to 15 than older age groups.”