There are many things I’ve done as a parent to keep my daughter safe. I buckled her into a car seat when she was a baby. I make sure she wears sunscreen to protect her skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. And now that she is in grade 7, I am making sure she is protected from cancer that can be caused by the human papillomavirus.
I can do this because there is a vaccine called Gardasil9 that prevents infection from nine strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cancer. There is an opportunity for my daughter to get the two-dose series of Gardasil9 (six months apart) at her school. This vaccine is offered free of charge as part of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s school immunization program.
It’s the first year that all students in grade 7 will be eligible to get this particular human papillomavirus vaccine that protects against cancer. The vaccine is recommended for boys and girls in grade 7 because it provides the best protection when given at this age.
I read the information my daughter brought home from school before signing the consent form. I found out that the HPV vaccine protects against cervical, anal, penile, vaginal, vulvar and throat cancers. I also learned that the vaccine prevents genital warts.
Canada is the first country to declare an HPV Prevention Week (October 1-7, 2017) to raise awareness of the risks associated with the human papillomavirus. Public Health is also taking this opportunity to raise awareness of the grade 7 HPV immunization program and the opportunity to prevent a common virus that may develop into cancer.
If your child’s school does not participate in the immunization program for the human papillomavirus, and your son or daughter is in grade 7, Gardasil9 is available from Public Health. For more information, talk to your doctor or call 1-800-265-7293 to speak with a public health nurse.