4:00AM Sunday Jun 28, 2009
Amber James and Rosie Roger. Photo / Janna Dixon
“I didn’t really know much about it,” says the year 12 student, “then my friend came to school and said someone her mum knows got sick from it. So I researched it and apparently it hasn’t been fully approved. We’re kind of like the guinea pigs for it, and I heard it sometimes risks your chance of getting pregnant.”
Rosie said she would consider the vaccine at a later date if further testing was done.
Most of Rosie’s school friends are also deciding against the vaccine. “I have a group of 10 friends and only one of them got it.”
Another friend, Amber James, 17, chose not to get the Gardasil vaccine after reading about it and talking to her mum.
“We decided there were more cons than pros and we decided there were a whole lot of risks,” said Amber. “And I don’t like needles.”
The facts about HPV and Gardasil
* Gardasil protects against the human papillomavirus, an STI that affects nearly 80 per cent of all women at some point in their lives.
* The majority will have no adverse effects, but some forms cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Gardasil protects against the most common forms of HPV that cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer and 90 per cent of genital warts.
* Gardasil is administered in three doses over a six-month period and is free to all girls aged between 12 and 18. It is also available from GPs and women up to age 26 can receive the vaccine, from $165 per dose.
* Out of 1467 schools, 1391 are participating.
* As of May 31, 110,662 doses have been given.
* Twenty six per cent (39,786) of young women born between 1992 and 1996 and 35 per cent (22,441) of young women born in 1990 and 1991 have received the first of the three doses.
Source: Ministry of Health
Comment from Leslie
I like these girls – they have the courage to think out of the box.