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Vast majority of Finnish youths have received HPV vaccine

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines provide protection against a number of cancers.

A pupil receiving a HPV vaccination at a school health nurse's office. Photo from 2020. Image: Jarkko Heikkinen / YLE

About 80 percent of middle school-aged girls and 70 percent of boys have received a vaccination against the papillomavirus, according to Finland's Institute for Health and Welfare THL. Vaccination coverage has been calculated for Finnish residents born in 2009.

In Finland, HPV vaccinations are usually given to young people in fifth and sixth grade. The vaccination series includes two doses.

There are currently regional differences in coverage. For example, about 88 percent of the girls born in North Savo in 2009 have received at least one HPV vaccination. In Central Ostrobothnia, the corresponding level of vaccination coverage is only 70 percent. Among urban areas, the highest rate of coverage for girls is in Kuopio, where about 89 percent are vaccinated.

The papillomavirus can cause, for example, cervical cancer. According to THL, cancers caused by viruses can be effectively prevented with vaccinations.

Girls have received the HPV vaccine free of charge as part of the national vaccination programme since 2013. Boys have been eligible for free HPV vaccinations since 2020.

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