Dear Editor: Public Health-Madison & Dane County would like to thank the Evjue Foundation for providing funding support for our “Tune Out Cancer” program. This program provides iTunes gift cards as an incentive for eligible 9- to 18-years-olds immunized through Public Health to complete their HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine series.
HPV vaccine is given in a series of three shots over a six-month period and is routinely recommended for 11- to 12-year-olds. The vaccine gives the best immune response when given to preteen boys and girls, though it may be started as late as 26 years of age. Our data show that only about half of girls and less than one-tenth of boys from 11 to 18 years have been fully immunized with this cancer-preventing vaccine. Public Health-Madison and Dane County is encouraging the completion of the HPV shot series by giving those under 19 years a $10 iTunes gift card when they return for their second and third vaccine doses. Public Health can immunize people 18 and under who are uninsured, have Medical Assistance, have major medical insurance (no vaccine coverage), or are Native American.
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control has shown HPV vaccine to be very successful. Despite low immunization rates, HPV strains causing cancer have dropped by half since 2006 when HPV immunization started. The HPV vaccine is safe as shown by 46 million doses given in the U.S. and many more doses given worldwide.
We appreciate our partnership with the Evjue Foundation to improve HPV vaccination rates in our county and consequently helping to prevent this generation of kids from getting the cancers caused by the HPV virus.
More information is available by calling 266-4821 or at our website.
Diane McHugh, RN
Public Health-Madison & Dane County