2 out of 3 girls in 7th grade received HPV vaccine

Illustration photo: vaccination The lowest was in Sør-Trøndelag with 50 % vaccination coverage.

In connection with the introduction of the HPV vaccine, a long-term follow-up programme (HPVnorvaks) has been established. The program includes ongoing monitoring and reporting of vaccination coverage and undesirable events. The HPV vaccine was introduced in the childhood immunisation programme and has been offered to all 7th grade girls since autumn 2009 (12-13 year olds). The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has released the first annual report of coverage and side effect profile.

“In the first cohort of girls born in 1997, 68% received at least one dose of vaccine, while at least 65% of this year’s cohort until now has received one dose,” said Lill Trogstad, physician and project manager at the NIPH.

”This is a good result, considering that some places had difficulties starting with vaccinations last autumn due to ongoing swine influenza vaccination. We also believe that people feel safer with the information about the vaccine and that the scepticism we saw initially is declining. Good, unbiased information is important and public health nurses across the country have done a great job of informing children and parents,” said Trogstad.

Undesirable events

All medicines, vaccines included, can cause side effects. The HPV vaccine Gardasil was selected for the vaccination programme. The vaccine was well tested before approval and over 65 million doses have been injected worldwide. The adverse events reported in Norway have not deviated from what has been documented about the vaccine. There are reports of 221 suspected adverse reactions, including 11 severe ones.

The vast majority of reported incidents involved harmless and transient reactions at the injection site. Some people had pain and tenderness in the arm, some reported nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Fainting or almost-fainting is also reported, but this is not unusual in connection with vaccination. Sometimes the reactions appear to be severe and the vaccinated person is taken to hospital for clarification of the situation. Most of the 11 reported severe side effects involved this type of admission to hospital,” said Trogstad.