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Acceptance/rejection of the Gardasil® vaccine
to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV)

2014 to 2016:
Second CDC report on HPV vaccine.
Remarkable impacts from the use
of the vaccine in Canada.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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injection 2014-JUL: CDC issues another report on the HPV vaccine:

The CDC noted that:

  • An average of three people every hour are diagnosed with a cancer associated with HPV.

  • Most of these cancers could have been prevented with the HPV vaccine.

  • Fewer than half of children in the U.S. are currently being given the vaccine.

  • If the level of vaccination were raised to 86% -- which is the current value for whooping cough vaccine -- there would be thousands fewer cases of head, neck and pelvic cancers diagnosed in men and women.

  • There had been zero improvement in the rate of HPV vaccination between 2011 and 2012."

  • "Between 2012 and 2013, the rate increased by 5 percent, but that was still below the CDC goal."

  • "CDC estimates that if every time an 11 or 12-year-old was getting another vaccine, HPV was given as well, coverage with at least one of the recommended three doses would have been 91 percent instead of 47 percent. The rate of completing the entire course is much lower.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant U.S. surgeon general and director of the National Center of Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said

"We were disappointed with the overall findings.

When a teen is in the doctor's office and receives another vaccine, but [does] not [also receive the] HPV [vaccine], that's a missed opportunity.

We think that parents who aren't planning to vaccinate lack knowledge and didn't hear a clinician recommendation. We don't think it's an issue of politics. ..."

The results we are reporting today are disappointing. We don't really have a big news story on teen vaccination results today. But no news is bad news for cancer prevention."1

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2015-OCT: Canadian Immunization rates in some jurisdictions are below target levels:

The HPV vaccinations were released for general use in 2016. Funding from the Government of Canada became available to the provinces and territories in 2007. A "Cancer System Performance Report," based on 2015 data, found that the percentage of girls immunized varied from 39 to 89% across the country. Rates were:

  • 89% in Newfoundland
  • 85% in Prince Edward Island
  • 80% in Ontario
  • 75% in Nova Scotia
  • 74% in Quebec and Saskatchewan
  • 73% in New Brunswick
  • 66% in British Columbia
  • 65% in Alberta
  • 59% in Manitoba
  • 39% in Northwest Territories
  • No reports from Yukon and Nunavut Territories. 5

There is a trend towards:

  • Giving the vaccine to both boys and girls. and

  • Reducing the series of three injections to two.

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2016-SEP: Reports on the impact of HPV vaccination in Canada:2

The vaccine was released for general use in 2006. By 2010-SEP, all of Canada's ten provinces and three provinces had either introduced or announced HPM immunization programs for girls as part of their routine immunization schedules. This involves three injections over a six month interval, for public school girls. Various programs have scheduled immunization for girls in grades 4 to 7 -- typically ages 9 to 12.

Michele Sponagle, writing for Personal Health News, discussed the impact of the vaccine at the time of the tenth anniversary of the vaccine's introduction in Canada, said:

"Looking back at the last 10 years since the introduction of the HPV vaccine, it’s clear there’s cause for Canadian men and women to celebrate. Cervical cancer and several diseases caused by the human papillomavirus have significantly decreased (although others, including some head and neck cancers, are still trending upwards). And now a large body of research and scientific data gathered from a decade of use has underscored the vaccine’s efficacy and safety." 3

Dr. Jennifer Blake is the CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. She commented that the the vaccine's introduction was:

"... the single greatest event in women’s health I’ve ever seen. People are seriously talking now about the possibility of completely eradicating cervical cancer within decades. The more we vaccinate, the harder it will be to encounter someone in the population with the virus and the less chance it will infect someone and lead to cervical cancer. We will reach a tipping point and be able to end this potentially lethal disease. ..."

"We have the evidence. We’re seeing reduced rates of HPV-related diseases in vaccinated young women. We never expected to see this magnitude of impact so quickly after the vaccine’s introduction." 3

Some data about the impact of the vaccine in three provinces where two out of three girls -- or more -- have been vaccinated:

  • Québec: The number of genital wart cases among vaccinated women has decreased by 45 percent. (HPV also causes genital warts).

  • Alberta: Teenagers with abnormal Pap results have gone down 50%.

  • British Columbia: Abnormal Pap results among teenaged young women has decreased from six to one per 100,000 women. 3

The Federation of Medical Women of Canada is sponsoring a Prevention and Awareness Program (PAP) Campaign starting on 2016-OCT-17. It is part of the National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week in Canada. Campaign Chairperson, Dr. Pamela Liao, said:

"Clinics across the country will be available to anyone who wants to learn more about their risk profile and to connect with health care providers who can arrange pre-screenings to identify cancerous lesions. Cervical cancer is curable if caught early. We all have an active part in stopping men and women from dying due to HPV-related diseases. Tell a friend and get the conversation started." 3

A 2013 survey of Canadian obstetricians, gynaecologists, family physicians, and paediatricians found that:

"Most physicians expect an important benefit from HPV vaccination and intend to prescribe HPV vaccines (86.7%)." 4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. James Hamblin, "Cancer Vaccine Exists, Goes Unused," The Atlantic, 2014-JUL-25, at: http://www.theatlantic.com/
  2. "Update On Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines," Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012-JAN, at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/
  3. Michele Sponagle, "What You May Not Know About The HPV Vaccine," Personal Health News, 2016-SEP, at: http://www.personalhealthnews.ca/
  4. Bernard Duval, et al., "Vaccination against human papillomavirus: A baseline survey of Canadian clinicians’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs." Abstract at: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/
  5. "Human Papillomavirus Vaccination," Page 19, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, 2016, at: http://www.systemperformance.ca/

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Copyright © 2014 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2014
Last updated 2016-SEP-25

Author: Bruce A Robinson
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