Dubbo teenagers and women have completed their three-dose course of the cervical cancer vaccine – unlike their national sisters.
New data released by the federal government shows many young girls and women are failing to complete the full course of the cervical cancer vaccine. But the Dubbo Plains Division of General Practice says the response rate for women returning to complete the course in the Dubbo area was “good”.
“In the target age group of 18-25 years of age over 80 per cent are having all three doses of the vaccine,” Dubbo Plains Division of General Practice immunisation manager Anne Vail said.
“The response rates have been very good.”
Government data shows more than 80 per cent of girls aged 12 and 13 years had their first shot in 2009, but by the third dose only 73 per cent were taking part.
The data, which was released on April 4, showed 38 per cent of women aged 18-19 and just 30 per cent of women aged 20-26 received all three doses.
Pregnancy and moving away from an area were some of the reasons that may have caused a drop off rate, according to Mrs Vail.
Without all three doses, experts say, girls will have less protection against the two strains of human papilloma virus (hpv), known to cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers.
“It’s like any vaccine, some give protection once immunised but some need to be built up and gardasil needs to be built up,” Ms Vail said.
“What we’re concerned about is that there is a decline after each dose,” Cancer Council spokesperson Kate Broun said.
“We’re hearing, anecdotally, that people don’t realise three doses are required with this vaccine. Most states and territories are falling short of the minimum 80 per cent coverage health experts say we should be aiming for if we want to see a marked reduction in cervical cancer incidence”.
The free National HPV Vaccination Program was introduced by the Australian Government in 2007 for women and girls aged 12-26.
Gardasil and Cervarix are the two vaccines listed on the National Immunisation Program.
Extensive trials proved that vaccinating young women with the cervical cancer vaccine was likely to significantly reduce cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths from the disease, as well as a significant number of pap test abnormalities.
Last year the free program was only available to girls aged 12-13 in their first year of secondary school.
“The program is not free any more but we do encourage women to have it, it is still offered for girls at school,” Mrs Vail said.
The Cancer Council is calling on the government to release more information to find out why young girls are dropping out.
Ms Broun said the Cancer Council has set up an explanatory website that she hopes will rectify the lack of education about the cancer.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.Read more