HPV vaccine for females age 16 to 19

Background (preamble): The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and is known to be the cause of almost all cervical cancers (Health Canada, 2007). Studies show that 3 out of every 4 Canadians will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime (Health Canada, 2007). Recently, there has been one vaccine, Gardasil that has been proven to effectively prevent the development of the virus; however, it is available at a high cost making it unattainable for those in low income situations. Health professionals recommend this immunization to women 9 to 26 years of age but, the federal government is currently only offering it for free to girls in grade 8 in Ontario (The Society of Obstetricains and Gynacologists of Canada, 2009). This HPV vaccination program has only been instilled since 2007, thus the youth prior were not able to receive the shot. It is appropriate to start at the age of 16 because the women no longer need their parent’s permission to get vaccinated. It would be fair for those girls who just missed it to catch up. Gardasil is one of the most expensive vaccinations on the market today. Those who are not covered by government funding have to pay 400 to 500 dollars for 3 doses of the injection (HPV Ontario, 2009). With its high price, teenagers can only be covered for the cost depending on the private insurance of their parents, with which they can only receive with consent. This leaves the other families with daughters who are not able to afford the vaccine because of their working arrangements. If a teenager has both work and school on her plate, part time employment does not typically have benefits such as private insurance. With regards to socioeconomic status and the cost of the vaccination, there is a relationship to the number of youth who contract a STI and income. A teenager at the lower end of the income spectrum is more likely to contract a STI (McKeown, 2008). Since 2007, Toronto Public Health has been running a health awareness campaign about HPV and its vaccine Gardasil. Through the use of the media, such as commercials, billboards, and ads, Toronto Public Health is encouraging young women to be protected through immunization. The federal government budgeted 300 million dollars towards these programs alone (Eggertson, 2009). With the recession of our economy, the government is constantly being challenged on spending the country’s limited funds. Even with this low point within our society, immunization is a primary prevention strategy. We as a group believe that the HPV vaccine should be available at a reduced cost for women, specifically ages sixteen to nineteen, who cannot afford the expenses. Girls who cannot afford to pay the 400 to 500 dollars because they do not have sufficient income should be able to be protected by receiving the vaccine. Petition We the undersigned citizens of Canada, call upon Honourable Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario, Mr. David Butler-Jones, Chief Public Health Officer, and the legislative assembly to acknowledge the importance of the HPV vaccine for girls aged 16 to 19 who missed Ontario’s Grade 8 vaccination program and recommend the following change. • Start catch-up programs for girls’ aged 16 to 19 at a reduced cost who missed Ontario’s Grade 8 vaccination program. “Protect young women from cervical cancers and genital warts associated with HPV infection”. “Prevention is better than cure”.

Sponsor

Petition sponsors: We are a female group of nursing students from the collaborative nursing program at Ryerson, Centennial and George Brown who are concerned about high prevalence of HPV infection. We hope to make the HPV vaccine available for girls aged 16 to 19 who missed Ontario Grade 8 vaccination program in hopes of reducing future diseases such as cervical cancer and genital warts.

Links

Health Canada.(2007). It's Your Health-Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Retrieved January 15, 2009, from, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/hpv-vph-eng.php. HPV Ontario. (2009). About the HPV vaccine. Retrieved January 16, 2009, from, http://www.hpvontario.ca/aboutvaccine.html. McKeown, D. M. (2008). The Unequal City: Income and Health Inequality in Toronto. Toronto: Toronto Public Health. The Society of Obstetricains and Gynacologists of Canada. (2009) HPV Vaccination. Retrieved January 15, 2009, http://www.hpvinfo.ca/hpvinfo/adults/index.aspx.

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