HPV vaccine uptake falling short

THE first official figures on the uptake of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine under the National Immunisation Program confirm many girls are failing to complete the three-dose course.

Figures released last week by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing show 83% of girls aged 12–13 years in 2007 had received their first dose of Gardasil by December 2009, but this fell to 80% for the second dose and 73% for the third dose.

A similar drop-off was seen in the catch-up program for girls aged 14–15 and 16–17 years.

Cancer Council spokesperson Kate Broun said while the roll-out appeared to be “broadly successful” more detailed figures were needed. 

“Most states and territories are falling short of the minimum 80% coverage health experts say we should be aiming for if we want to see a marked reduction in cervical cancer incidence,” she said. 

“What we want to see is the