$300,000,000 at $300 a treatment

  Niagara Falls, Ontario,
Thursday, April 19, 2007
by: Joe Hueglin

As we do most Wednesdays, Aase, my wife and I, spent our day with Miss Kay, the not quite two year old baby of our baby, while her parents work.

You may consider me daft, pixilated, or whatever other word you may choose to apply, for saying what I'm going to say, but here goes, as a concerned grandparent.

At $300.00 for a course of three doses $300 000 000.00 will purchase human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine for 1 000 000 Canadian females. A vaccine aimed at cervix cancer the 13th in incidence of new cases (page 95) and 15th in cause of death (page 97) among cancers affecting women.

How are the million HPV shots going to be administered? Will they be voluntary as were the 14,300 in the first two months of this year, OR WILL THEY BE MANDATORY as in some

image by Matthew Shire

American states, despite long term questions, among them, duration of protection, efficacy, safety?

$300 million @ $300.00 a course. Too much for voluntary. If mandatory, a policy necessitating a continuing transfer of funds to the provinces to continue it, or the provinces picking up the whole cost.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has confirmed Ottawa's commitment of $300 million for a national vaccine programme, to protect women and girls from cancer of the cervix. Someone must ask him, "Jim, is it a mandatory or voluntary programme?"

While Miss Kay will not be affected, one way or the other, for a few years, seven by what I read, the thought of her having no choice, led me to raise this matter for clarification.


Joe Hueglin

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2006, (pdf), Canadian Cancer Society, Stats Canada
Vock, Daniel C., Quick cancer mandate raises health concerns, (pdf) April 2, 2007, Stateline.Org
Kirkey, Sharon, 'Long-term questions' ignored in rush to give HPV shots: critics (pdf), April 16, 2007, Ottawa Citizen

Whittington, Les, Not all lobbying is bad: Flaherty (pdf) April 17, 2007, Toronto Star


Wikipedia, Human papillomavirus, as seen April 19, 2007, Wikipedia


Center for Disease Control, Genital HPV infection - CDC Fact Sheet May 2004, CDC


Canadian Women's Health Network, HPV and Cervical Cancer, June 2006, Canadian Women's Health Network


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