In late 2017 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the new 9 strain HPV vaccine would be free to all 12-13 year old students from 2018.
The original 4 strain HPV vaccine introduced to the immunisation program in 2013 protected against HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 – offering 70% protection against cervical cancer causing HPV types.
The new vaccine adds 5 further types (31, 33, 45, 52, and 58) now providing 93% protection against cervical cancer caused by HPV.
However in NSW the vaccine has yet to be delivered.
By all accounts there should be stock available by the end of March under the publicly funded national program for people aged 12-13 years old , and usually private vaccine stock is available at this time too. We will endeavour to keep you updated when we have it available.
What if I’ve already started on the regular HPV vaccine?
You can continue your course with the new 9-strain when it is available to get complete protection for the original 4 types. Although the manufacturer hasn’t explicitly stated this, you would need a full course of the 9-strain to have protection against the extra 5 types of HPV. For most people who have completed 2 out of 3 of the original course, it is recommended at this stage to complete the remainder of the course with the original vaccine.
What is a full course?
If your first 9-strain vaccine is given at 14 years or younger – then you only need 2 vaccinations. An initial vaccine, and one 6-12 months later.
If your first 9-strain vaccine is given under the age of 15 years and over – then you will need 3 vaccines. An initial vaccine, a second 2 months after the first, and a third 6 months after the first.
The HPV vaccines only protect against HPV.
This means there is a reduction in the chance of developing cervical cancer in women, reduction in the rates of anal cancer, and a reduction in the transmission of genital warts.
It does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases, and safe sex is still important to maintain.
It also does not mean women should stop having cervical screening tests as these are important to detect any HPV infections that still manage to be transmitted despite vaccination.
If you have any questions please book in to see your GP and ask for more information.