Let’s make the HPV vaccine free
I am doing a project on the HPV vaccination programme at school. I found out that the number of girls who take the vaccine in Hong Kong is very low. This vaccine protects women against cervical cancer.
According to a report released earlier this year by the World Health Organisation, 40.7 per cent of the world’s countries have included the HPV vaccine in their immunisation programmes. An article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, in March said that Australia could become the first country to eradicate cervical cancer, because research suggests its “free HPV vaccine programme in schools has led to a dramatic decline in future cervical cancer rates”.
If Australia can do it, so can Hong Kong. There are several reasons for the low numbers of girls taking the vaccine in Hong Kong: they have never heard of it or know very little about it; they don’t know where to get it; and they’re worried about the cost.
Pilot schemes for the vaccine have only been carried out on a small number of girls in Hong Kong. The government should provide free HPV vaccines to all schools. It’s time to extend this vaccine to all girls in the city.
Nikita Dawes, Beacon Hill School
From the editor
Thank you for your letter, Nikita – you have given us an idea. We would love to see your project when you finish it. HPV is not widely publicised and so many people don’t know about it. Oddly, this vaccine is not free. Those who can afford it need to pay for it. Those who cannot afford it can apply for free vaccination through the government scheme.
While that might sound like a lot of trouble, trust us when we say cervical cancer is A LOT MORE TROUBLE.
Girls around the age of nine should have the vaccine but, if you are older, you should discuss it with your doctor. It is not as effective, however, if you are sexually active.