Thousands of West Australian teenagers are missing out on cancer protection because they are not completing their full course of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Health Minister John Day today highlighted the importance of the target group - Year 8 students - receiving all three HPV vaccine doses.
"This is a potentially lifesaving decision, so I encourage students and parents to get involved, to tell your friends and share the message," Mr Day said.
"While a majority of students received the first vaccine, studies show more than 2,500 failed to finish the three-dose program last year."
Statistics show that 99 per cent of students who consented to receive the HPV vaccine had the first dose, but the rate dropped to 97 per cent of females and 96 per cent of males for the second dose and only 90 per cent of females and 89 per cent of males for the third dose.
"These numbers are concerning because they show that up to 10 per cent of participants are not getting the maximum protection," the Minister said.
"The vaccine will help prevent cancer and disease later in life, and it is important that both students and their parents realise the value of completing the entire immunisation course."
The vaccine protects against two HPV types that are known to cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer in women. It protects males from 90 per cent of HPV types that cause cancers of the penis, anus and throat, and against 90 per cent of genital warts in both sexes.
The free vaccine is available to every Year 8 student whose parents consent.
Students who miss a vaccination at school should visit their GP or immunisation provider to receive the full course. Some providers may charge a fee for administering the free vaccine.
25,974 Year 8 students received the HPV1 vaccine in 2015, 25,180 received HPV2 and only 23,422 received HPV3
Between 12 and 14 per cent of Year 8 students do not consent to HPV vaccination
Minister's office - 6552 6200