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Vaccinating Children Is Focus of Clinic

Samaritan Health Services and the Oregon Pacific Area Health Education Center recently teamed up to host a successful cancer prevention clinic at the Boys & Girls Club of Albany in which hundreds of parents learned more about human papillomavirus – known as HPV – and 33 children were vaccinated against the common virus. 

Although HPV can lead to six types of cancers later in life, the American Cancer Society reports that only 51% of teens are fully vaccinated against HPV cancers. The vaccine is recommended for children starting at age 9 through 14 and requires two doses to fully protect against the cancers.

The “Take the Shot” campaign in Albany, led by staff of the Oregon Pacific Area Health Education Center  and the Samaritan Cancer Program, involved an awareness-building campaign to educate board of directors and staff of the Boys & Girls Club and parents as they picked up their children at the Boys & Girls Club, and then culminated in a vaccination clinic held on-board SamCare Mobile Medicine the first week of February. 

The pilot project which the Oregon Pacific Area Health Education Center hopes to replicate in other locations, was supported by the Vaccines for Children, the Vaccine Coalition and the American Cancer Society.

“Health systems play such a unique role in protecting the public’s health, and the American Cancer Society is proud to partner with Samaritan Health Services to increase HPV vaccination,” said Laura Brown, Health Systems manager for the western region of the American Cancer Society. “Our goal is to protect a generation of children from HPV cancers. You have lit the torch for our state and region with this campaign.”

Along with the Samaritan Cancer Program and the Oregon Pacific Area Health Education Center, other sponsors of the campaign included the InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization, the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, SamCare Mobile Medicine and the American Cancer Society. Medical students from College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest were involved in the awareness campaign with parents. The vaccine clinic was funded in part by a grant from the Southern Willamette Dental Society.

A similar HPV outreach campaign is being planned for March at the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis.