Parents urged to immunise children against HPV

By James Bennett

About 80 per cent of Shepparton children are immunised against human papillomavirus, but Cancer Council Victoria says it's not enough.

It said 78.6 per cent of Shepparton boys and 86.2 per cent of girls were immunised against cancer-causing HPV in 2015-16.

Cancer Council Victoria said all 12 and 13-year-olds should take advantage of the free National HPV Vaccination Program as students start to head back to school.

Screening, early detection and immunisation manager Kate Broun said although Shepparton vaccination rates were above the state average, the figures needed to increase.

“It is fantastic that lots of Shepparton parents are choosing to protect their children, but there is still work to be done to ensure that all teens have the opportunity to complete the free vaccine course and protect themselves against cancer-causing HPV,” Ms Broun said.

“The vaccine is most effective when given at age 12 to 13. Two injections are needed, with the second dose administered six to 12 months after the first.

“We are urging parents to sign the vaccine consent form and ensure their teen receives both doses for the best protection against cancer.”

The vaccine protects against nine types of HPV. The HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9, is free in schools to all Year 7 students.

Since the HPV vaccination program was introduced in 2007, there has been a 93 per cent reduction in the two most serious types of HPV.