Virus causes cervical cancer, genital warts
The plan for a controversial program to vaccinate girls in B.C. elementary schools against the virus that causes cervical cancer and genital warts will be ready as early as this autumn, the ministry of health announced yesterday.
Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island already have human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programs, but B.C.’s program wasn’t originally scheduled to begin until 2008. It may begin earlier, a spokesperson for the ministry said yesterday.
Caryn Duncan, a lobbyist with the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective, said she wants to know why there is a “frantic rush” to approve the program.
“There’s just not been enough rigorous examination of the HPV vaccine,” she said. “I’m not opposed to it, but I want to know that it is the right addition to combat cervical cancer and I’m not hearing a lot of conversation on that.”
She is concerned the pharmaceutical industry “has influenced that discussion and doctor groups.”
Dr. Fawziah Marra, an associate professor of pharmacy at the University of British Columbia, who has recommended the vaccine for her daughter, said the vaccine has “gone through enough clinical testing, in terms of its efficacy and its safety.”