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Public Health & Wellness Department Now Has Cervical Cancer and Shingles Vaccines

Wednesday May 16, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (May 16, 2007) The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness now has both the cervical cancer and shingles vaccines.

The cervical cancer vaccine (Gardasil) has been approved for women ages 9 to 26. The vaccine targets four strains of human papillomavirus that account for about 70 percent of all cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts. The vaccine is also approved to help prevent vaginal and vulvar cancers, which can also be caused by HPV. 

About 20 million people in the U.S. are infected with HPV, and by age 50, at least 80% of women will have had an HPV infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 9,700 cases of invasive cervical cancer with 3,700 deaths each year in the United States. In Louisville Metro there are approximately 39 cases of invasive cervical cancer with 19 deaths each year.

“Both Gardasil and Zostavax are extremely effective vaccines,” said Dr. Matt Zahn, medical director of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “The cervical cancer vaccine will save the lives of many women in our community and the shingles vaccine will prevent a seriously painful and debilitating condition in our seniors.”

The cervical cancer vaccine is administered in three doses. The vaccine is available under the Vaccines for Children’s program to girls ages 9 to 18. For this age group the vaccine is free with a $10 administration fee per dose. For women ages 19 to 26 the vaccine is covered by many private insurers.

The shingles vaccine (Zostavax) has been approved for adults age 60 and older to prevent shingles. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC recommends routine use of the vaccine for everyone 60 and older. Shingles is a painful disease caused by reactivation of dormant varicella zoster virus, or VZV. Without vaccination, about 20 percent of people who have had chickenpox eventually will get shingles. A person who lives to age 85 has a 50 percent chance of getting shingles. 

The mission of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness is to protect, preserve and promote the health, environment and well-being of the people of Louisville. To learn more about the department’s programs and services go to www.louisvilleky.gov/health.