Statement on Changes to the Quebec HPV Vaccination Regimen
Canada is a worldwide leader in Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) prevention. Canada was the first country in the world to create an HPV Prevention Week (October 1-7) dedicated to raising awareness of HPV and the importance of immunization in the prevention of 9 cancers linked to the head and neck, tongue, throat, anus, cervix, vulva, vagina and penis. The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) was integral in establishing HPV Prevention Week and we are pleased to partner with organizations across Canada in raising awareness of HPV prevention, vaccination and screening.
We are dismayed, however, on the eve of the second HPV Prevention Week, by the recent Quebec government decision to change the regimen of HPV vaccines currently approved by Health Canada for Quebec elementary school children to a regimen that includes Cervarix which is not approved by Health Canada or any other guideline body anywhere in the world for boys.
Our goal as the FMWC is to help the public understand the value of the vaccine, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidelines and the overall experience here in Canada and around the world. This new, untested schedule and choice in Quebec is worrisome as there are many unknowns, with no evidence-based data to support this plan, and no other jurisdiction following this schedule. Parents choosing to adhere to the current 2-dose 9 valent regimen approved by Health Canada are expected to cover the $175.00 cost themselves, creating an inequity in health care provision for Quebec low-income families. This is unacceptable.
We urge the Government of Quebec and Minster Barrette to reconsider this decision and return to the 2-dose 9 valent vaccine regimen and the Health Canada recommendations.
The key to HPV prevention is effective evidence-based immunization. We have the evidence. Let’s use it.