6 Oct 2008

Slow uptake of vaccine against cervical cancer

9:40 am on 6 October 2008

Medical centres say uptake of a new free vaccination against cervical cancer has been low.

Gardasil has been available to females aged between 17 and 18 for more than a month as part of a government campaign to combat the human papillioma virus.

But less than 10% of those eligible have had the vaccine.

A nurse at the Kelburn Medical centre in Wellington, Lesley Manning, says a lot of young women are confused - especially about whether they can have the vaccine if they are sexually active.

She also believes some are being put off by recent negative stigma associated with the Meningococcal B vaccine.

The Ministry of Health says a full-scale advertising campaign will begin in January when Gardasil will be available for girls aged between 12 and 18.