Local cancer prevention vaccine rates still too low: health unit



While immunization against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is extremely effective in preventing numerous cancers and genital warts, about a third of local students are not taking advantage of the free HPV vaccine.

“HPV is responsible for almost all cervical cancer cases, as well as other cancers including mouth, throat, and anal cancers, but our local immunization rates against the virus are far from ideal,” said Dr. Colin Lee, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU). “We need to change that. This is an excellent vaccine that helps prevent cancers and saves lives.”

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in Canada—it’s estimated that 75 per cent of Canadians will be infected by HPV at least once in their lifetime. Because most sexually active people who have HPV are unaware that they have it, the infection is often passed unknowingly on to partners. The best time and way to prevent HPV infection is to receive the vaccine in Grade 7.

The HPV vaccine is offered for free by SMDHU to Grade 7 students across the region as part of the provincial school-based HPV vaccination program. The vaccine coverage rate for Simcoe Muskoka students is stagnant at just over 68 per cent; the rate is lower in Muskoka.

“This vaccine is the easiest, most effective way to protect yourself from an HPV infection,” says Dr. Laura White, gynecologic oncologist, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH). “Almost everyone will come into contact with and acquire an HPV infection at some point in their life. It’s important that parents support vaccination in Grade 7 since the vaccine works best before individuals become sexually active. Numerous studies have shown that the benefits of this vaccine significantly outweigh the risks. When 99 per cent of cervical cancer is caused by HPV, the vaccine—combined with regular pap smears—is a simple way we can eradicate this type of cancer.”

In addition to being responsible for numerous cancers, HPV also causes genital warts. In the 2017-2018 school year, more than 12 per cent of visits to SMDHU sexual health clinics were for warts caused by HPV.

Students who have missed the Grade 7 HPV vaccination, or still need their second dose, have until the till the end of high school to complete it. For more information about catching up on the HPV vaccine or about HPV, check the health unit’s website at www.smdhu.org/HPV or call Health Connection weekdays 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or toll free at 1-877-721-7520.

Remember to report other immunizations to the health unit, too. Did you know that you can easily update your child’s immunization records online?

In Ontario, under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, up to date immunization records are required for all students and it is the responsibility of a parent to report immunizations to their health unit.

Share your child’s immunization record with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit by going to www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/immsonline. If you think you have missed any of your child’s vaccinations or need more information, call Health Connection at 721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to find out what you need to do to catch up on missed vaccinations.

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  1. There is no mention of the downside (side effects) of this vaccination or to the cost to the province or to the huge profits for the pharmaceutical company behind it

    • The Human Papilloma Virus vaccine is a VERY problematic vaccine (although quite profitable for the pharmaceutical companies). https://www.collective-evolution.com/2018/04/03/sacrifical-virgins-a-must-see-film-about-young-girls-being-severely-damaged-by-hpv-gardasil-vaccines/

      It is NOT a “cancer preventer”–that is a marketing ploy. It MAY prevent an HPV infection–but that is a far cry from the claim that it prevents cancer. The best way to avoid being infected with HPV is, of course, for young people to abstain from sexual contact until marriage–NOT accepting a vaccine with uncertain results. Another argument against mass inoculation against HPV is that there is a fair bit of evidence that the body can clear itself of the mild viral infection in one to two years. Why vaccinate against something that is, in itself, a non-lethal infection?

      Philosophically, we must come to grips with the reality that we cannot possibly vaccinate against all viral or bacterial illness. The proliferation of vaccines of dubious value mean that fewer resources can be spent on developing vaccines against the most lethal infectious disease. As an example, while we are using expensive resources on nonsensical fights against the very mild viral infection of chicken pox while lethal viruses like the ebola or Marburg viruses have yet to be met with vaccines against them. Worldwide, there are maybe 100 fatalities a year from the chicken pox virus and it typically only occurs in those who are already immune-compromised. We thank God that there are relatively few microbes with a high case fatality rate (CFR) such as the infections caused by the horrible viruses of hemorrhagic fevers. It is the latter for which we should be developing vaccines, where possible.

      In general, it makes much more sense to strengthen the immune system’s resistance to infection and use measures from the past to contain epidemic infection–quarantine, being one of the most powerful forms of infection prevention as is common sense hygiene practices like hand-washing. EVERY vaccine is an assault on the immune system and we don’t even know enough about the immune system to tinker with it over and over and over.

      The routine vaccination schedule has grown greatly over the decades and immunologists often express doubt about the future of vaccines, as it is now requiring more and more injections of a vaccine to get the same level of protection that was afforded by fewer injections in the past.

      There is also a great deal of concern over the attempted manipulation of an infant’s immature immune system. It is well known that an infant’s immune system is incapable of forming effective antibodies before the age of one year. It is possible that, in the future, we will see the routine vaccination of infants as particularly barbaric and that it was done primarily as a means of enriching those who own stock in pharmaceutical corporations. As an example, why are we inoculating newborns with hepatitis B vaccine? Hepatitis B is a disease that is primarily transmitted through sexual contact and the sharing of hypodermic needles during illegal drug use.

  2. And of course the anti vaxxers are here with their pseudo science and ‘big pharma’ cries. Get your kids vaccinated! Only in first world countrys do doctors have to plead with the community to take advantage of FREE vaccines to protect their children. Please, please, protect your kids against completely avoidable cancers!!! Do not take the quack advice of ‘Dr. Google’ or ‘nurse Youtube’ over the advice of a board certified medical practitioner!

    • I am NOT an “anti-vaxer”! Had you read my comment carefully, you would see that. I am merely in favor of SAFER vaccines and vaccines that make sense in the broader picture of infectious disease. Since the U.S. Congress, under intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry, abolished the ability of lawsuits against them, they often rush unproven (and many times, unsafe) vaccines to market without fear that they will be sued, if individuals are harmed by them. As a sop to protesting consumer groups, Congress also required the pharmaceutical industry to pay into a fund to compensate those who have been injured by vaccines. To date, this fund has paid out $4 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) in claims and the vaccine injury compensation board is notoriously stingy with payouts!

      This is NOT “pseudo-science”–a number of immunologists have privately admitted that they are in doubt about the long-term prospects for immunizations. Angry knee-jerk reactions do nothing to further a reasoned discourse on the matter. Here’s a link to an article that focuses on an aspect of vaccinology that is rarely discussed but is quite pertinent to the subject–that of vaccine resistance among microbes: https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-vaccines-can-drive-pathogens-to-evolve-20180510/

      Yes–vaccines have probably done a reasonably good job–in the short term (and we are speaking of decades here–most of them have been around only since the 1940s). But, set against the long history of the fight against infectious disease, improved hygiene, nutrition and sanitation have probably done a lot more to curb infectious disease–as is admitted in this linked article from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253344/

      The NCBI is one of the cheerleaders for vaccines and for them to admit that nutrition plays a role in immunity is astounding.

      As just one example that should give pause for thought, if you look at the stats, polio was already on the way out before either of the polio vaccines were developed (Salk or Sabin). There are now new strains of polio virus that were probably encouraged by the widespread use of the polio vaccine (see the former article as to why vaccines may have a role in the proliferation of polio viruses).

      In the case of the HPV vaccine, why should we subject all of our children to the risks that are inherent in ALL vaccines for the sake of warding off a virus that most immune systems can clear in a year or two?

      By the way, lest anyone really believe that “doctors are experts concerning vaccination”–here is a link to an article which explains how little average physicians understand about vaccines: https://thevaccinereaction.org/2015/11/doctors-are-no-experts-on-vaccines/

  3. Kathy Henderson on

    I have to agree with you Erin. It is too new and they can’t know the side effects of taking this vaccine. In 10 or 20 years who knows what the results of this vaccine will be. And preventing Cancer? What a joke.

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