Family Integrity#434 — HPV vaccination programme

2 October 20008 Family Integrity#434 — HPV vaccination programme

Dear Friends,
I have been contacted by the Min of Health twice now in hopes of recruiting my help to get their message out to the home schooling community.
But first I did my own research. As a result, I decided not to get involved.
Find below:
1 — the latest approach to me, by email this time.
2 — the information sheet the MoH provided
3 — my research and response to it all, titled “Guinea Pigs or Sheep”
Craig Smith
Family Integrity
—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 10:23 AM
Subject: Information for Home-school associations

Dear Home-school Co-ordinator

As you may be aware, the HPV Immunisation Programme will be available to girls between the ages of 12 and 18 from early 2009.

I have attached some information on the programme, and credible websites which may be useful if you require more information. Feel free to share this information through your website, newsletter, or any other channel you use to communicate with parents of pupils.

Please contact me if you have any queries or would like further information or resources about this programme.

Teresa Coward
Policy Analyst
HPV Group
Population Health Protection Group
Population Health Directorate
Ministry of Health
DDI: 04 816 3489
Fax: 04 495 2191


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Immunisation Programme.

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Immunisation Programme aims to prevent cervical cancer by protecting girls against infection with the two types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. The first stage of the programme was launched on 1 September for young women born in 1990 and 1991.

In the long term it is expected that more than 30 lives a year will be saved. Fewer women will have to go through the stress of abnormal smear results and the extra tests, diagnoses and treatments that can follow.

Home-schooled girls eligible for HPV vaccine can get the vaccine through their family doctor, practice nurse, or health clinic. From 2009 the vaccine will be offered to 12 year old girls as part of the National Immunisation Schedule. A catch up programme will be offered during 2009 and 2010 for the remaining eligible girls (age 13 to 18).

You can also contact the HPV Programme Project Manager at your local District Health Board to find out where to get the vaccine.

Women will still need to have regular smear tests from the age of 20 as the vaccine does not protect against all HPV types that may cause cervical cancer.

The Gardasil vaccine was shown to be safe and effective in large clinical trials involving more than 20,000 girls and young women. Ongoing studies show that five years after vaccination protection remains very good, and the vaccine prevented HPV infection in 96 percent of women. Research is continuing to monitor the long term protection, and international experts do not expect that a booster dose will be needed.

The websites below provide information on HPV and cervical cancer and have links to further information that you may find useful. You may also wish to discuss the HPV programme with your health care provider, or phone the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) free on 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).

Useful websites:

Guinea Pigs or Sheep

The Government’s Ministry of Health sees all our daughters as either guinea pigs on which to perform a massive, nation-wide experiment or as sheep who need to be sloshed through the dip or hit with the ol’ drench gun whether they need it or not…just in case.

It’s all in a good cause, of course. They want all parents to make an informed consent about subjecting their daughters (aged 12 to 18) to a series of three injections over a sixmonth period of Gardasil® vaccine to hopefully reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is not nice. It usually leads to death, but it may only mean sterility and/or disfigurement if caught in time. It is caused by some types, not all types, of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

So the schools are going to give these jabs to the girls for free, older girls starting this month, and they’ll target the 12-year-olds starting in 2009. The drug is licensed for girls aged as young as 9 and as old as 26, but if you’re not in year 8 or have already left school, too bad…you’ll have to pay for it yourself at $450 for the course of three.1

How does one get this HPV anyway? Sexual intercourse.

The comprehensive condom education in schools in not enough. That is because condoms provide little protection against HPV, and HPV infection is the most common STD. So the friendly makers of Gardasil® have struck a deal with the Ministry of Health, to sell them…I mean, to provide millions of doses of this potentially lifesaving drug. Granted, it only protects against the two HPV types that cause 7 out of 10 cervical cancers ,2 but at a cost of only $16 million a year, it seems a bargain. And it will certainly keep the friendly folks at Gardasil® happy.

How bad is this problem? About 200 women a year develop cervical cancer in NZ at present and around 70 die from it per year. The vaccine should reduce the death rate to 30 a year. The Ministry of Health’s National Screening Unit (NSU)1 says the following factors increase the risk of getting cervical cancer:

* having first sexual encounter at an early age

* having more than one sexual partner: increased incidence of the cancer is proportionally linked to an increase in the number or partners;

* having a partner who has HPV, was sexually active at a young age or who has had more than one sexual partner.

The NSU says other factors linked to getting cervical cancer include:

* smoking

* the use of oral contraceptives

* a weakened immune system.

Now, the material sent to me by the Ministry of Health, in order to recruit my help in getting home educators into this vaccination programme, does not mention any of these risk factors. Actually, it said virtually nothing of any use at all. The Ministry of Health website to which I was referred2 does say that the vaccination may only last for five years, but with near-universal vaccinations through the schools’ guinea pigs, they may find it gives longerlasting protection. The NSU website,1 however, says it may take as long as 20 years for an HPV infection to turn cancerous. It also says that women who have never been sexually active hardly ever develop cervical cancer and that very few women with HPV actually develop the cancer. In addition, getting a triannual cervical smear test will eliminate the risk of developing the cancer by 90%. 

Both sources said that women should continue to get smear tests regardless of whether they ever got the vaccine or not.

After reading all of that unpleasant stuff, I concluded the vaccine was of very little practical value, even if you do accept the flawed and (to many) the outrageous assumption that most teenaged girls are sexually promiscuous. The programme is obviously quite a gold mine to the makers of Gardasil® and keeps a lot of people in the MoH, the MoE, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Privacy Commission all happily busy spending our tax dollars. I have declined getting involved with the programme.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *