Although the majority of HPV vaccines will be administered as part of the school-based National Immunisation Program, GPs and other health professionals have an important role to play in ensuring good vaccine coverage across Australia, including:
- administering doses missed at school
- giving the vaccine to girls and boys not attending school
- educating parents about the benefits and risks of the HPV vaccine, when they are deciding whether to have their child vaccinated
- notifying any doses administered to the National HPV Vaccination Program Register using a single dose notification form or, if you are registered with the HPV Register, by uploading the notification through the web portal. You can contact the Register on 1800 478 734 (1800 HPV REG) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about the HPV vaccine.
Giving the vaccine in a primary care setting
GPs may administer the full three-dose course of Gardasil to eligible girls and boys aged 12–13 years free of charge.
Males and females outside of these age ranges can still access the vaccine from a GP, but they will need to pay for it. The vaccine is most effective before sexual activity starts and exposure to HPV has taken place.
GPs may give the vaccine to children under 16 years without parental consent, provided they understand the benefits and risks associated with it.
All HPV doses must be ordered through your State/Territory Health Department.
- If teens and their parent/s or guardian/s would like further information about HPV and the vaccine you may wish to use or adapt the fact sheet for students, fact sheet for parents and myth and facts for parents.
- For everyone not eligible for the free vaccine, the vaccine costs around $150 per dose.
- Gardasil (CSL) is the vaccine used in the National HPV Vaccination Program. It is approved for use in females aged 9–45 years and males aged 9–26 years. It protects against HPV types 16 and 18 (which cause 70% of cervical cancers and around 90% of all HPV-related cancers in men) and types 6 and 11 (which cause 90% of genital warts).
- The three doses should be given optimally at 0, 2 and 6 months. However it is still beneficial to complete the full three-dose course of the vaccine, even if doses aren't received at the correct interval.
- Efforts should be made to receive all three doses within a year. In exceptional circumstances, to condense the course of vaccines, the second dose can be given a minimum of one month after the first, and the third dose a minimum of three months after the second.
- As with other vaccines, incomplete courses can be completed at a later time without repeating previous doses.
- An appropriate recall system should be used by your clinic, to ensure all three doses are completed at the correct time as far as possible. You may wish to use or adapt this missed dose reminder letter.
- Encourage patients to notify your clinic if they wish to receive the vaccine, to allow you to order stocks if necessary. You may wish to use or adapt this poster to place around the clinic.
- When seeking consent for vaccination, advise patients that their doses will be reported to the HPV Register unless they opt off. The Register will provide them with a completion statement once the course is finished and also contact them if a booster dose is ever found to be necessary in the future.
- In the future, the HPV Register may also link female vaccination information to Pap test registry information to monitor the impact of the vaccine on cervical cancer in Australia.
- You should notify the HPV Register of doses given using this single dose notification form or, if you are registered with the HPV Register, by uploading the notification through the web portal. You can contact the HPV Register on 1800 478 734 (1800 HPV REG) or email email@example.com.
Vaccinated girls presenting with abnormal Pap tests
Girls who have received the HPV vaccine but later present with an abnormal Pap test may need advice from their GP as to why this is the case.
Read more about Abnormal Pap tests after vaccination – it is important that this information is communicated to women.
The following resources are available free from PapScreen Victoria at papscreen.org.au and contain useful information for women.