According to 2016 data from the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, only 55% of Lincoln County 13 to 18 year olds are vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) leaving 45% unprotected. By remaining unprotected or unvaccinated, they are more likely to get cancer caused by HPV infections.
HPV protection is prevention only. This means that after coming in contact with the virus that causes cancer (HPV), there is no medication to make it go away. However, by getting the shot or vaccine, 90% of cervical cancers are prevented (Center for Disease Control). HPV vaccine also protects against several other types of head, neck and other fatal cancers. It is recommended for boys and girls ages 11-12 for two main reasons. Studies have shown it works best when given in this timeframe and there is less chance that there has even been contact with the virus.
Lincoln County Health Department recognizes January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. “Letting the community know that the HPV vaccine is safe, recommended by health care providers and that it works well is an important message to share because it saves lives”, says Jennifer Johnson, Public Health Nurse, Lincoln County Health Department. “It is not something that should be ignored”, she adds. The Vaccines for Children program offers HPV vaccination at no cost to residents who have no insurance or are underinsured for vaccines.
LCHD is proud to share the movie Someone You Love the HPV Epidemic with residents of Lincoln County. If you are interested in this movie or if you have more questions about HPV prevention or vaccines, contact Jennifer Johnson, Public Health Nurse at 715-539-1371.