Vaccine net widens

All three human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines will be available to girls through their school this year.

Until now, the first of the three vaccines was administered at schools and girls had to go to their GP for their second and third vaccinations.

However, girls were failing to make the visits to their GP, which meant those girls had not agreed to, nor declined the vaccine.

Now girls in year 8 will be able to get their first, second and third jab through their school.

The vaccine is designed to protect girls against HPV, which can lead to genital warts and cervical cancer.

South Canterbury District Health Board acting chief executive Fiona Pimm said start dates for when students could get the vaccination would vary from school to school.

"The intent is for all three HPV vaccines to start to be offered at schools by mid to late March."

She said the HPV vaccination was showing extremely positive results.

To allow parents and guardians to make an informed decision about whether or not they want their daughter to get the HPV vaccination, information sessions would be arranged for them to attend, Ms Pimm said.

The HPV vaccine is also available free to females aged 12-20 years from GPs and practice nurses.

The Timaru Herald