The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo) (09.06.07) - Friday, September 07, 2007
Parents of grade-eight girls in the Waterloo region face a
decision as to whether to allow their daughters to be
vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). Announced Aug.
2, the provincial school-based HPV vaccination program is
voluntary, and public health nurses will be giving the shots
to girls in local schools beginning Monday. The government is
sending a fact sheet about the HPV vaccine program to parents
prior to the clinics.
About 3,000 girls in the Waterloo region are eligible to
receive the vaccination, which requires three shots over six
months. In Ontario, 84,000 grade-eight girls will be able to
receive the free vaccine. The program is being subsidized with
$300 million (US $284 million) over three years by the federal
"There is a huge potential here to prevent cervical cancer"
most cases of which are caused by HPV, said Dr. Liana Nolan,
Waterloo region's medical officer of health. Each year, about
500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Ontario, and
the disease kills about 140 women.
One researcher recently published an article in the Canadian
Medical Association Journal questioning whether universal
vaccination is premature, safe, and effective. However, all
provincial chief medical officers of health support the
program, said Nolan.
The most common side effects from HPV shots have been a sore
arm and feeling temporarily unwell. Ongoing monitoring of the
vaccine has found it both safe and effective for more than
five years without a booster, Nolan added.