By: Tim Switzer
Nearly two-thirds of eligible school-aged girls in Saskatchewan are being vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in an effort to lower rates of cervical cancer.
Since the vaccination program was launched in schools at the start of the 2008-09 school year, approximately 61 per cent of girls in Grade 6 and 7 have received the vaccine.
While the goal for vaccination rates is always higher, Dr. Moira McKinnon, the chief medical health officer for the provincial Ministry of Health, said health officials expected to be around the 60 per cent mark for the initial years and anticipate an increase in the numbers very soon.
“It takes a couple of years for people to accept it and be reassured that it is having an effect,” McKinnon said. “The community is becoming more aware of the importance of cervical cancer prevention and health workers as well … sometimes it takes a while for doctors and nurses to really take it up as well.”