March 27, 2011
SCHOOLGIRLS were so frightened and anxious about getting vaccinated against cervical cancer that their reaction ”bordered on hysteria”, a new research paper shows.
The fear was so extreme that girls began crying, screaming and fainting during school vaccination days.
Researchers from the University of Sydney and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead found that when this intense fear was witnessed by classmates waiting to get the needle, anxiety levels jumped even more.
The findings, published in the latest edition of The Medical Journal of Australia, suggested the girls’ fears could be reduced by distracting them with iPods, puzzles and stress balls while waiting for the needle.
All girls aged 11 to 13 are offered the free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine – Gardasil – as part of a voluntary national immunisation program in schools. Gardasil protects young women from HPV strains that cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers. About 700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in Australia, according to the Cancer Council Australia.