Toronto, ON (July 20, 2022) — Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA), a leading advocacy and professional development provider for pharmacy professionals, launched a learning series, Eliminating HPV-Related Cancers today. The initiative brings attention to the impacts of HPV-related cancers and highlights how pharmacy teams are well-positioned to offer guidance to patients and assist with reaching HPV immunization target rates that have been set by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). OPA seeks to increase awareness of HPV immunizations because the COVID pandemic has caused a significant decline in routine immunizations.
“Providing a service that can prevent a patient from developing cancer is a rare and exceptionally impactful intervention and is yet another way that pharmacy professionals are stepping up to protect their patients from serious and potentially life-threatening disease,” said Jen Belcher, Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives & Member Relations at OPA. “As we refocus on ensuring that all Ontarians have a complete vaccination history, pharmacy professionals have a critical role to play to ensure that we reach our Canadian immunization targets for HPV.”
Eliminating HPV-Related Cancers includes a webinar on July 21 with guest speaker Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Public Health Physician and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair at the Global Control of HPV Related Disease and Cancer. The learning series also boasts a landing page where pharmacy professionals can discover key facts about HPV, the cancers it causes and helpful resources.
According to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, 3,800 new cancer cases in Canada are attributed to HPV each year. There is currently no cure for HPV, but the vaccine is highly effective in the prevention of HPV vaccine-specific viruses and is indicated for individuals up to the age of 45. Injection-trained pharmacists can administer HPV vaccines, but currently, only publicly funded HPV vaccines are available through public health and there has been a significant decline in immunizations due to COVID. For those not eligible through Ontario’s public HPV program, the vaccine can be purchased privately with a prescription and may be covered through private insurance. Ontario pharmacy professionals’ proximity and accessibility to patients as well as their experience with administering COVID-19 vaccines can be leveraged to help combat vaccine hesitancy, educate patients about the risks of HPV-related cancers, and increase administration of the HPV vaccine to all individuals up to age 45.
To learn more about Eliminating HPV-Related Cancers visit opatoday.com/eliminating-hpv-related-cancers/.
We extend our thanks to Merck Canada for their assistance in the realization of this learning series, however all content was solely developed by OPA.
ABOUT ONTARIO PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION
The Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) is committed to evolving the pharmacy profession and advocating for excellence in practice and patient care. With more than 10,000 members, OPA is Canada’s largest advocacy organization, professional development and drug information provider for pharmacy professionals across Ontario. By leveraging the unique expertise of pharmacy professionals, enabling them to practice to their fullest potential, and making them more accessible to patients, OPA is working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. The pharmacy sector plays a strong role in Ontario with an economic impact of more than $6.3 billion across 4,600 pharmacies, employing 60,000 Ontarians. For more information on OPA, visit opatoday.com.