Montreal-As our children return to classrooms across the country, boards of education and public health agencies are urgently working to vaccinate young people eligible for COVID-19.
There are certainly many celebrations that public health agencies have achieved over the past year, but they have lost sight of some of the other school-based vaccination programs against hepatitis B, meningitis, human papillomavirus or HPV. Pandemic.
In some areas, sudden cancellations of vaccination programs at schools have significantly reduced intake.
In Alberta, for example, less than 10% of eligible 12-year-old girls received a second HPV vaccination in 2020, compared to more than 65% in 2019.
October 3-8 will be Canada’s fifth HPV Prevention Week. This is an awareness and education initiative that encourages everyone to take steps to prevent the spread of HPV and the various cancers that HPV can cause.
HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease and causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, but anal cancer, vaginal cancer, genital cancer, penile cancer, mouth and throat cancer, genital organs It can also cause cancer.
It is estimated that three in four sexually active Canadians will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
Efforts to help children catch up with vaccination failures in schools like HPV have been largely regional, sporadic and ineffective. We predict that already overkill public health agencies will struggle to make significant profits.
Catch-up clinics are often held in community locations rather than schools, placing parents responsible for ensuring that their children have the latest immunity.
School programs in all states and territories are the best and most effective way to ensure that all targeted children have easy access to HPV vaccination.
More needs to be done at the state, territory, and local levels to ensure that children who miss the first or second dose of the HPV vaccine are not left behind. This means arming public health with funds to provide a catch-up clinic within the school and ensuring that HPV vaccination is provided within the school during the 2021-2022 school year. To do.
Parents can also help ensure that their child has all routine immunizations by contacting the local public health department or health care providers such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
In 2020, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer introduced an action plan for cervical cancer eradication in Canada with the goal of eradicating cervical cancer by 2040.
The World Health Organization has set a goal to eradicate cervical cancer worldwide within the next century. Increasing vaccination in school-based HPV immunization programs is one of the top priorities for achieving this goal and is at risk for a lack of a complete cohort.
“Canada has ambitious goals, but achievable goals. Today, vaccination of children with HPV can help prevent more than 5,000 cases of cervical cancer by 2040. It’s possible, “said Dr. Craig Earl, vice president of cancer control at the partnership.
“Increasing immunization is one of the best things we can do to ensure that the next generation of Canadians are free of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers.”
Ending the COVID-19 pandemic should continue to be an urgent public health priority for Canadians. However, we cannot relax our vigilance against other serious health threats.
Eliminating cervical cancer in our lifetime is within Canada’s understanding and it is not something we can endanger.
Dr. Vivian Brown is the chair and co-founder of HPV Prevention Week in Canada and a former president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Women (FMWC).
Dr. Jennifer Blake is the CEO of the Canadian Obstetricians and Gynecologists Association (SOGC).
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