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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: _____, 2007
_____ County Health Department

HPV Vaccine Now Available at _____ County Health Department

The _____ County Health Department announced today that it is providing on a limited basis a newly licensed vaccine that is highly effective in preventing the viral infection that causes most cervical cancer in women.

The Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, or HPV vaccine, is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer. It works against four types of HPV, including two that cause about 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

The HPV vaccine will be available at the _____ County Health Department through the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, a public-purchased vaccine program that provides immunizations at no cost to eligible children. The three-dose vaccination will be available on a voluntary basis with parental consent to females aged 9 to 18 years who qualify for the VFC program. Eligible children include those who have no health insurance or are underinsured, are Medicaid-eligible, or are American Indian or Alaska Native.

The _____ County Health Department will offer the vaccine (describe your county health department’s clinic, including day and time that this vaccine will be available).

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and there is no cure or treatment for it. The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends HPV vaccination for preteen girls to provide immunity before they become sexually active. For girls and women who get vaccinated before their first sexual contact, the vaccine is extremely effective. For those who are exposed to the virus before getting the vaccine, it does not work as well, though most females will still benefit from getting the vaccine. The vaccine is licensed for females aged 9 to 26 years.

By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired HPV infection, putting them at risk of cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 11,150 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007, and about 3,670 women will die from the disease this year. In Oklahoma, about 200 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed annually and about 60 women die from the disease every year.

Public health officials stress that even with the new HPV vaccine, Pap tests will remain an important tool in cervical cancer screening because some cervical cancers are caused by viruses not responsive to the current vaccine.

“We are pleased to be able to offer the HPV vaccine, which may truly save lives,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____. “We’ll be happy to talk with parents about the vaccine so they can make an informed choice on whether they wish to seek it for their daughters.”

For more information on the new HPV vaccine, or other vaccinations offered by the _____ County Health Department, call (phone number). Additional information on the HPV vaccine is also available at this Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/default.htm.



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