McGuinty Government Launches Life-Saving HPV Immunization Program
New, Free Vaccines To Be Offered to Young Women In Grade Eight This Fall
The Ontario government will offer free vaccines to young women in Grade 8 to protect against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a cause of cervical cancer, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today.
"Cervical cancer is a devastating disease that affects far too many women in Ontario," said Premier McGuinty. "We're providing this vaccine to women at a young age so we can help prevent the spread of HPV and save lives."
Beginning this fall, the HPV vaccine will be offered to about 84,000 young women in Grade 8. The McGuinty government will invest $117 million over three years in this program. The school-based vaccination will be administered by public health nurses on a voluntary basis with consent forms and information provided to parents and guardians ahead of time.
"The McGuinty government is committed to the advancement of women's health issues in Ontario," said Minister Responsible for Women's Issues Sandra Pupatello. "Our publicly funded HPV vaccination program is an important tool in the prevention of cervical cancer and a good investment in the future health of Ontario's women."
"Ontario is taking a decisive step to prevent cervical cancer," said Dr. George Pasut, the Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health. "I am very pleased that an effective vaccine has become available. This is an effective way of reducing cervical cancer."
The HPV virus is a common virus transmitted through sexual activity that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. Every year in Ontario, about 500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 140 die from the disease.
"The HPV vaccine is a very important medical advance that will further reduce the toll of cervical cancer," said Dr. Joan Murphy, Head, Divison of Gynecologic Oncology, University Health Network, and member of Cancer Care Ontario's Ontario Cervical Screening Collaborative Group. "Cervical cancer is a virtually preventable disease. By getting every at-risk woman screened and by allowing all Grade 8 females the opportunity to be vaccinated against the HPV virus, we have a real chance of eliminating cervical cancer in Ontario."
Although the vaccine provides protection against HPV, it is not a replacement for cervical cancer screening. Regular cervical cancer screening along with the vaccine, provide the best protection against cervical cancer.
Investing in vaccines to prevent cancer is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in public health. Other initiatives include:
- Making three new vaccines available free of charge for the prevention of chicken pox, meningococcal meningitis and pneumococcal disease, resulting in over three million vaccinations that have saved Ontario families up to $600 per child.
- Expanding the newborn screening program from two disorders to 28
- Launching the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion which will provide scientific and technical advice for those working to protect and promote the health of Ontarians.
"By strengthening Ontario's public health system, we're helping to keep Ontario families healthy," said Premier McGuinty. "But there's much more to do as we continue to move forward, together, to strengthen health care for all Ontarians."