Source: Beehive, 31 January 2016
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a new awareness campaign
starts today to inform parents and caregivers of Year 8 boys and
girls about the benefits of HPV immunisation.
"New Zealand is joining Australia and a growing number of other
countries in providing free HPV immunisation to boys as well as
girls," says Dr Coleman.
"In Budget 2016 the Government invested an extra $124 million to
enable Pharmac to further increase access to new medicines. Pharmac
announced last July it was widening access to HPV and chickenpox
"HPV-related cancers cause more than 50 deaths in New Zealand
each year, and most of these are preventable.
"A growing proportion of throat cancers are caused by HPV and
they affect males at higher rates than females. Immunisation
protects both males and females from most cancers caused by
HPV immunisation is available free through most schools in Year
8 as part of the school based immunisation programme. The vaccines
are also available through general practices to anyone aged from 9
to 26 years.
Other changes to HPV immunisation this year include a reduction
in the number of doses for those aged 9 to 14 from three doses to
two, spaced at least six months apart, and an updated vaccine that
protects against the types of HPV that cause around 90 per cent of
"Recent studies show that younger teens need fewer doses of the
vaccine to get good protection," says Dr Coleman.
"Older teens and young adults who have missed out on HPV
immunisation can still catch up free, as the age of eligibility has
been extended to 26."
About 65 per cent of girls who were in Year 8 in the last couple
of years have been fully immunised against HPV. This has been
steadily increasing in recent years - just over half of girls who
were eligible for the programme when it first began have been
The awareness campaign to support HPV immunisation for boys and
girls starts today and continues through February and March as
school-based vaccination programmes seek consent around this
The campaign includes radio, online video, print and outdoor