The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme aims to reduce cervical cancer in New Zealand by protecting girls against HPV infection.
The HPV vaccine, which is called Gardasil, protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer and genital warts, provided that the young woman has not been infected with those strains of the virus already.
The vaccine is free and is given as a series of three injections over a six month period.
The vaccine is licensed for use in over 100 countries and has been shown to be safe during large clinical trials. Over 50 million doses of the vaccine have been given to 17 million people worldwide.
Southland and Otago HPV Programme:
In Southland, the HPV vaccine programme is being managed and delivered by the PHO Management Services Southland Ltd. Additional support is being provided by the Pacific Island Advisory and Cultural Trust and Awarua Social and Health Services.
In Otago, the programme is being managed by Well Dunedin on behalf of the five PHOs in the region (Otago Southern Region, Rural Otago, Taieri & Strath Taieri, Mornington and Well Dunedin). Public Health South is delivering the school based component of the programme. Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora and Otago Pacific Peoples Health Trust are providing additional support.
Written consent is required from parents and caregivers for girls under 16 years of age to receive the vaccine in schools. Girls aged 16 and over may complete and sign the consent form themselves.
Since September 2008 family doctors, practice nurses and health clinics nationwide have been offering HPV vaccine to all young women born post 1 January 1990.
School Based Programme
In 2009 both Otago and Southland offered the school based programme to year 8. In additional the catch up programme was extended to year 9 in Otago and years 12 and 13 in Southland.
In 2010 both Otago and Southland are again offering the programme to year 8. The catch up school-based programme for the remaining girls and young women is being offered to years 9 through 13 in Otago and years 9, 10 in Southland:
Girls and young women who would prefer not to be immunised at school, or who have left school can also receive the free immunisation from their local general practice, rural nurse clinic, the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), University of Otago Student Health, Otago Polytechnic, Number Ten Youth Health Centre or Family Planning Centre.
Please visit the Ministry of Health's HPV vaccine and programme webpage.
Southland: Please contact your local GP practice or call PHO Management Services Southland Ltd on telephone +64 3 214 6436 to discuss any questions you may have about the HPV vaccine and Southland programme.
Otago: Please contact your local GP Practice or call Well Dunedin on telephone +64 3 477 1163 or Public Health South on +64 3 476 9800 or 0 800 769 880 to discuss any questions you may have about the HPV vaccine and Otago programme.