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  • Australian teens must receive HPV vaccine

    Author: AAP

Australian parents are being reminded to make sure their teenagers receive the HPV vaccine.

Parents must ensure their teenagers get fully vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the chairman of the Immunisation Coalition says.

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Despite the efficacy of the HPV vaccine school program it "is not meeting its targets" because a number of parents are not signing consent forms and students aren't completing the three injection program, Professor Paul Van Buynder said.

"The rates aren't going down they are just not where we want them to be," he said.

The vaccination is safe and provides long-term protection against a "nasty" disease that will infect most teens, Prof Van Buynder said.

"We are urging all parents of teens starting high school to prioritise their child's immunisation and get informed by reading reliable information provided through the school or their healthcare professional about immunisation and the vaccines."

If a child misses a vaccination parents can also take them to their GP to catch up on the required doses.

HPV is a common virus affecting both males and females. Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact could get HPV.

In most people, HPV is harmless and has no symptoms, but in some people the virus may persist and lead to diseases of the genital area, including cervical cancer and genital warts.

Research shows 85 per cent of Australian teens will be infected with HPV.

"Of those 10 to 20 per cent will harbour the virus," Prof Van Buynder said.

The federal Health Department says Australia has the highest HPV coverage rates in the world but it's working with the Immunisation Coalition to make improvements.

"The department continues to investigate options for national collation and reporting of schools based vaccination information that may involve the whole of life Australian Immunisation Register," a spokesman said in a statement to AAP.

According to government figures, boys receiving the vaccination has risen from 29 per cent in 2013 to 66 per cent in 2015; and for girls the rate has increased girls from 71 per cent in 2012 to 77 per cent in 2015.

A 2015 independent evaluation of the Australian HPV vaccination program found it had been successful in reducing the incidence of cervical abnormalities in young women and anogenital warts in men and women.


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