History of the HPV immunisation programme

The development of a highly effective vaccine against the major cancer-causing types of HPV was an important opportunity for the primary prevention of cancer in New Zealand.

Including HPV immunisation into the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule was recommended by the Ministry of Health’s Immunisation Technical Working Group in November 2006.

Introduction of the programme

The aim of the HPV immunisation programme is to protect young women from HPV infection and the risk of developing cervical cancer later in life. The Government announced the programme in May 2008.

The programme started on 1 September 2008 for young women born in 1990 and 1991. In 2009 the programme was extended to girls born from 1992 onwards.

At that time, publicly funded HPV immunisation programmes were already underway overseas. For example, Australia’s HPV programme started in April 2007.

In deciding on the age range for the HPV immunisation programme, the Ministry of Health looked at what was happening overseas, considered New Zealand’s epidemiology, consulted public health experts and commissioned a survey of parental attitudes. Most countries that have introduced HPV immunisation programmes have chosen a similar age range.

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