It’s time to get real about cancer prevention: Extending OHIP coverage for HPV vaccination
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- Lotus Alphonsus (Western University)
- Ayushi Bhatt (Western University)
- Valerie Steckle (Western University)
The Ontario Medical Students Association (OMSA) puts forward the following principles to guide recommendations for extending OHIP coverage of HPV vaccination for everyone until age 26:
- Ontarians require proactive and evidence-based measures to prevent HPV-associated cancers, which can cause significant morbidity and mortality as well as increased healthcare costs
- Ontarians should have the same access to HPV vaccination programs as Canadians in other provinces that provide more extensive coverage
- Improving the health literacy of Ontarians includes educating the public about the risks of contracting HPV and the importance of HPV vaccination in preventing a number of cancers, including cervical and head and neck cancers
These principles follow the core conditions of the Canada Health Act:
- Universality, in that all Ontarians between the ages of 12-26 should be eligible for OHIP-funded HPV vaccination without discrimination.
- Comprehensiveness, in that all provincial health insurance programs should cover the cost of HPV vaccination for eligible individuals up until the age of 26 as an important cancer prevention measure. This will allow individuals to make an informed decision when they are of the age of majority, which is especially critical for those who were opted out by guardians as minors.
- Accessibility, in that all eligible individuals have timely and reasonable access to the HPV vaccine regardless of socioeconomic status, faith, gender, sexual orientation or race.
- That the Ontario government provide OHIP coverage for HPV vaccination for all Ontarians until 26 years of age by December 31, 2022.
- That a public awareness campaign be initiated to educate Ontarians about HPV vaccination and HPV-related cancers.
- That the OMSA dedicates a day of action to improving HPV vaccine uptake, or to improving accessibility and public uptake of vaccines in general.