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HPV vaccination campaign underway
Northern News Services
Published Friday, November 20, 2009
Drop-in immunization clinics began at the Jan Stirling Building Nov. 18, and are also available for students in the Yk Education District No. 1 school district.
"The school-based program for Yk1 is continuing, so this is targeting (Yellowknife Catholic Schools students) where the vaccine is not being delivered in the schools," said Wanda White, a communicable disease specialist with the Department of Health and Social Services.
Last September, the Yellowknife Catholic board voted against offering the vaccine in their schools.
Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer for the NWT, attended and presented information in support of giving out the vaccine in schools, but the board - except for Amy Hacala and Rose-Marie Jackson - still voted not to have it offered in their schools.
Chair Mary Vane and Brian Nagel stated at the meeting that they did not trust the vaccine had been properly tested before being released to the public. White said the health community in the NWT supports the vaccine.
"HPV is a vaccine that parents and public health nurses and specialists here in the territories have been wanting for a period of time," said White.
White said in order not to overload public health staff or put too much strain on their resources, the drop-in clinic is for students in Grades 4, 11, and 12 only.
"We're doing those grades who will exit school earliest, so we're doing Grade 11 and 12 this year, and next year we'll be doing Grades 10 and 11, the year after that Grade 9 and 10 and so on, until we meet in the middle so everyone's covered," said White, adding the Grade 4 students will be vaccinated every year.
White said the Department of Health and Social Services will be observing the rates of cervical cancer and HPV in the NWT over the next few years to keep an eye on how well the vaccine is working.