Adolescents with disabilities in Victoria have lower HPV vaccination coverage than their typically developing peers, which puts them at greater risk of developing cervical cancer and other HPV related cancers later in life.
Cancer Council Victoria is working to ensure vaccination rates remain high for all Victorians eligible to receive the HPV vaccine, to help protect them against HPV-related cancers and illnesses. This project, funded by the Victorian Department of Health, falls under our Elimination of Cervical Cancer Strategy that will help Victoria become one of the first places in the world to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem by 2030.
“By talking to adolescents with disabilities, staff at specialist schools, parents of adolescents with disabilities, and immunisation nurses, we found that there were some clear strategies that we can develop to increase the uptake of HPV vaccination in students with disabilities,” Cervical Cancer Elimination Manager Alice Bastable said.
Following this research, Cancer Council Victoria is now working with a specialised disability organisation to develop appropriate HPV vaccination resources that will meet the needs of adolescents with disabilities, their parents, teachers, and immunisation providers.
“These resources will be based on research and consumer insights and will fill an identified gap of accessible and clear information about HPV and HPV vaccination for this population,” Ms Bastable said.
“As we edge closer towards the elimination of cervical cancer in Victoria, we must ensure no one is left behind and that we address vaccine equity so that no one suffers this almost entirely preventable disease.”
For more information about HPV and the HPV vaccine visit: www.hpvvaccine.org.au