Young People Enroll in HPV Vaccination: 160,000 Vaccination Appointments Already | correct
Catching up with young people ages 19-27 to get vaccinated against infectious HPV has resulted in 160,000 vaccinations assigned to date. For young people, the injection, which can fight six types of cancer, is free this year. They are also contacted via social media.
So far, about 12 percent of this age group have taken action, and according to RIVM spokesperson Gert Westerhuis, this is “not disappointing.” Saturday is ‘HPV Awareness Day’: Young people ages 19-27 can drop in without an appointment to get a vaccine at 45 GGD sites nationwide, though the doors are closed in some GGD areas. Already open on Thursdays and Fridays.
What about HPV, the sexually transmitted virus that (at a later age) can cause cervical cancer, penile cancer, and throat cancer, among others? Since 2009, girls have been invited to be vaccinated the year they turn 10, and since 2022 boys who have reached their teens have been invited.
Among girls, uptake of HPV vaccination has increased from about 50 to 70 percent between 2009 and now, where the vaccination rate is 90 percent desirable. Westerhuis: ,, so we’re trying to catch up this year among the 19-27 age group. For example with HPV Awareness Day on Saturday, but also through active communication with young people on social media. We understand that this target group has other things on their minds, but they are really important.”
Young people know almost nothing about the highly contagious and common virus, which eight out of ten people contract once they become sexually active. Condom use alone cannot stop infection. Usually the body clears the virus itself, but sometimes it stays there for longer and can develop years later (precursor) to cancer.
Ideally, HPV vaccines are given (there should be at least five months between two injections) before a person becomes sexually active, but according to the RIVM, vaccination can continue very well for people in their 20s.
When the HPV shot for girls was added to the national immunization program in 2009, a lot of fake news about vaccination circulated on social media, according to Westerhuis. It’s now becoming clear that these were intertwined stories, that there really are no side effects and that the shot works excellent against HPV. That is why we hope that now young people who may have been a little hesitant at the time will come and take the shot.”
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