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Expansion of Govt cervical cancer vaccine programm

23 January 2009

Expansion of Government cervical cancer vaccine programme.

In February 2009 the HPV Immunisation Programme will be extended to include girls aged 12 – 18 years and will mostly be given via a school based programme.

“With the roll-out of the school-based cervical cancer vaccination programme the New Zealand Government will give the next generation of young women the best possible opportunity to protect themselves against cervical cancer and other HPV related disease”, says Mike Taylor, CSL Biotherapies Country Manager.

Gardasil is the only four-type (6, 11, 16, 18) human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, giving young women protection against the majority of cervical cancer and a significant number of HPV related abnormalities.

“New Zealand is now in line with the rest of the developed world in making the most of the opportunity to reduce the huge burden of disease caused by HPV”, says Professor Ron Jones, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Auckland Hospital.

“By reaching younger girls in schools it will optimise the vaccine’s efficacy, as it is most effective before a girl is exposed to the HPV virus types it protects against”, adds Prof Jones.

Each year there are approximately 30,000 abnormal cervical smear test results and HPV is responsible for a significant amount of these. Women then often have to go through further testing and diagnosis which can be extremely stressful.

“People often think immediately of what it would be like to have cervical cancer, but they often don’t think about the burden of being diagnosed with pre-cancerous abnormalities. It can be extremely distressing and worrying for a woman”.

“As Gardasil will help reduce the development of HPV related pre-cancerous abnormalities, it means that fewer women will have to go through the experience of having additional examinations and operations to remove pre-cancerous lesions.” he adds.

Gardasil has been studied in clinical trials over many years involving more than 20,000 young women including New Zealanders and so far, over 36 million doses have been administered to young women worldwide.

“These trials, along with the fact that Gardasil is authorised for use in 107 countries, including with New Zealand’s Medsafe, have clinically proven that the vaccine is effective and the vaccine has a very good safety profile”, adds Mr Taylor.

Since its publicly-funded launch in September 2008 to those born in 1990 and 1991, more than 11,000 young women have taken-up the opportunity to protect their future health and wellbeing by heading to their GP for the Gardasil vaccine.

Immunisation plus regular cervical smear testing offers the best protection against cervical cancer.


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