The West Australian State Government has sounded the alarm at thousands of WA teenagers missing out on cancer protection because they are not completing their full course of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.
The HPV vaccine was considered a medical breakthrough when introduced 10 years ago for its protection against cancers including of the throat and cervix, and genital infections. In West Australia, it is provided free to Year 8 students.
But research shows participation in the three-dose course dwindles after the initial jab to the extent that up to 10 per cent of teens who start it do not get the final inoculation, limiting its effectiveness.
More than 2500 students who started the course last year, failed to finish it.
Between 12 and 14 per cent of West Australian Year 8s did not return consent forms to participate at all, either because of forgetfulness or anti-vaxxer parents.
Children who miss a dose are encouraged to get free injections from their school nurse, local government community health clinics, a GP or the Health Department’s central immunisation clinic in West Perth.