Facebook blamed for vaccine woes

Taranaki Daily News 28/10/2010
Social networking websites could be putting teenage girls at risk of contracting a deadly disease. New Plymouth GP Peter Catt says girls are choosing to believe what they read on the internet instead of the advice of medical practitioners when it comes to the Government-funded cervical cancer vaccine. Slow uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme led the Taranaki District Health Board to offer a catch-up programme over the past two years. However, the catch-up has been unsuccessful, with just 46 per cent of Taranaki girls born between 1992 and 1996 having started vaccination. Dr Catt, who is deputy chairman of the Taranaki District Health Board, said the message from his nurses was that girls believed what they read online about the vaccine. …The programme has been controversial, with morals campaigners objecting to vaccinating girls against a cancer they can get only through sexual activity. Others expressed concern about adverse reactions and the initial uptake was slow, leading to the catch-up programme.