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New Hampshire Becomes First State to Offer Free HPV Vaccine

New Hampshire announced last week that it will be the first state to offer the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil at no cost to girls ages 11 to 18. The vaccinations are scheduled to begin next month and will be funded by the federal government and private insurers, reports Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy. The Gardasil vaccinations will be added to a state program that provides various vaccinations to minors. The program has planned to spend $4.8 billion for Gardasil next year, with insurance companies shouldering about 75 percent of the cost, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Gardasil was approved in June by the Food and Drug Administration for girls and women from 9 to 26 years old. The vaccine prevents infection from some strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.

“We can not overstate the huge breakthrough in this vaccine,” Mary Ann Cooney, New Hampshire Public Health Director, told the Associated Press. New Hampshire state officials are hoping that a quarter of all eligible candidates for the vaccine ‘ about 17,000 girls and women ‘ will receive the vaccination next year, according to the Associated Press.
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Sources:

Kaiser Daily Women�s Health Policy 12/1/06; Associated Press 11/29/06; New Hampshire Public Radio 11/29/06

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