TORONTO — The Ontario government may have to educate parents and girls about a free vaccine in light of numbers showing half of the eligible Grade 8 girls in Ontario are not taking advantage of a vaccination which "saves lives" by preventing cervical cancer, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Thursday.Quote has been trimmed
Ontario Ministry of Health numbers show 40,000 girls have consented to the first of three vaccines against human papilloma virus (HPV) since they were unveiled with much fanfare last summer. That’s only 53 per cent of the 76,000 girls who are eligible for the free vaccine through their school board.
Halton, York, Durham and Toronto all had thousands of girls who declined the vaccine while in the northern Ontario community of Timiskaming, almost half the eligible girls refused to be vaccinated.
Ontario is spending $117 million over three years to offer the vaccine Gardasil which, if the $400 shots are administered before a girl becomes sexually active, is effective against the strains of HPV responsible for 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases.
Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Ontario introduced vaccination programs after the federal government set aside $300 million in funding. Every year about 550 women in Ontario are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 150 succumb to the disease, McGuinty said.