Child turnout for HPV vaccination approaching 50 percent
Almost half of 9 and 10-year-olds in the Netherlands got vaccinated against HPV, the human papillomavirus, in the spring, RIVM reported. Boys received an invite for the HPV shot for the first time this year.
HPV is a widespread virus that about 80 percent of people come into contact with at least once in their lives. It can cause cancer in women and men later in life. The Netherlands added the HPV vaccine to the national immunization program in 2010 for girls when they turn 13. This year, the vaccination age was lowered to the year they turn ten, and boys were added to the program.
At least 49.2 percent of girls born in 2012 received their first HPV vaccine this spring, and 42.9 percent of the boys. Their follow-up shot will happen in the autumn. The 9 and 10-year-olds who didn’t get the first shot in the spring will have another chance this autumn. The actual turnout is a bit higher, but not all kids or their parents gave permission for their vaccination data to be used in the stats.
In previous years, the turnout for the first HPV vaccination was around 60 percent in the middle of the year. But Jeanne-Marie Hament, the RIVM program manager for the immunization program, is hopeful that the turnout will pick up in the coming months.
“The HPV vaccination is new for boys. Some young people and their parents need more time to make a vaccination decision. In addition, the invitation for the HPV vaccination came almost simultaneously with the invitation for coronavirus vaccinations,” Hament said. “For those who didn't want to or couldn’t get vaccinated this spring, there is another chance this fall.”
Many older boys are also getting the opportunity to immunize themselves against HPV in a catch-up campaign running this year and next. This spring, boys born in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2008, and 2012 were invited to get vaccinated against HPV. The turnout ranged from 33.8 percent among boys born in 2004 to 45.5 percent born in 2008.
Early next year, children born in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2013 will get the invite.