ARCHIVED - Recommendations on a Human Papillomavirus Immunization Program


7. Feasibility of eventual HPV immunization

HPV vaccines are designed to prevent infection with HPV genotypes included in the vaccines but are not designed to treat women who have already been infected with these genotypes. Indeed, HPV vaccination would best be administered before the onset of sexual activity(2).

Table 2 illustrates some results of a Canadian study on adolescents' sexual health.

Table 2: Sexual behaviours of Canadian adolescents by age group (69)

14 years old

15 years old

16 years old

17 years old

Canadian teens reporting being sexually active





In addition, according to the Canadian Community Health Survey 3.1 (2005), 61.3% of respondents between the ages of 15 and 24 and 27.9% of respondents between the ages of 15 and 17 reported that they had sexual intercourse.

School-based vaccination programs remain an effective way to reach young girls and to make sure that all vaccine doses are administered. In 1998-1999, 97.1% of Canadians between 7 and 14 years of age were enrolled full-time in school(70). Published data suggest that immunization coverage with existing programs is high when school-based programs are used and higher in primary school than high school(71).

However, if a booster dose is needed, it may be difficult to reach vaccinated women because they will not be in the school system any more. The accessibility of young adults to vaccination services may also be problematic. Currently in Canada, as in many other developed countries(72,73), there are no special immunization services for adults outside travel clinics and influenza vaccination.

Finally, although this aspect has not been well studied, some difficulties may emerge when implementing a sex-based (girls only) vaccination program.

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