Friday 03rd September, 04:53 AM JST
Only 4% of about 200 school nurses think it appropriate to inoculate girls against cervical cancer at school, an Okayama University survey showed Thursday, apparently mirroring the teachers’ concerns about their ability to deal with possible side effects.
Mikiya Nakatsuka, a professor at the university and member of the survey team, said, ‘‘I suppose many nursing teachers seem to feel uneasy about providing explanations (about the disease or group vaccination) to parents or coping with side effects.’‘
Nakatsuka said it is important to ease the burden on schools by having doctors or other healthcare workers undertake such explanations.
The survey also showed that 45.1% of 127 healthcare professionals who responded think group vaccinations appropriate, but that 47.6% were concerned about side effects, while as many as 85.4% of the 200 nurses responding had such concerns.
It is often thought desirable for women in their early teens to receive vaccination against cervical cancer as sexual intercourse is one of the main risk factors for the disease.
The vaccine became available in Japan last December, but it has yet to become widely given due in part to the high cost. A course of three shots costs about 40,000 to 50,000 yen.
The Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry is currently considering offering state subsidies for vaccination, while Tokyo, Yamanashi Prefecture and other local municipalities have already moved to subsidize vaccination.
A ministry official said that the government will examine the subsidy issue carefully as there is a view that it is not right to subsidize such vaccination before the effects or side effects of the vaccine are fully analyzed.
A ministry study shows that about 16,000 women suffer from cervical cancer every year, of whom about 2,500 people die.
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