Rachael Macklan, Registered Nurse and mother of two, urges parents to make sure their children receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
The vaccine is delivered in two doses at least six months apart. It forms part of the 11- and 12-year old immunisations that also include the Tetanus, Diptheria and Whooping Cough (Tdap) vaccine.
Rachael’s youngest son, Felix, 11, is almost due for his second dose, while Cam, 13 has already had the full course. The HPV vaccine protects against nine strains of human papillomavirus which can cause cervical and other cancers, as well as genital warts.
“If I can protect my kids from all these different cancers, I will,” said Rachael.
“I wish it had been available when I was younger because then I could have avoided three abnormal smears. If I can prevent that from happening to my kids then I am going to.”
When her interest in the vaccine was sparked, Rachael did some research into both the virus and vaccine. As a nurse, she says that was able to understand the language and think critically about the information she found, but ultimately she made the decision as a parent.
“You want the best for your kids and what I discovered, including the scarcity of adverse reactions, meant I decided to make sure they got it,” said Rachael.
Contact your family doctor to ask about the HPV vaccine. Vaccination is free for all young people if started by the age of 26 and children can receive the vaccine at the same time as their Tdap immunisation.