|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2007
Statement by HHC in Response to the NYC Public Advocate Report Regarding Access to HPV Vaccine
New York, NY – The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation welcomes the Public Advocate’s interest in women’s access to cervical cancer screenings and the new HPV vaccine. Despite the Public Advocate report findings, all 11 HHC hospitals as well as our community based health centers currently have the appropriate HPV vaccine available for pediatric and adolescent patients.
Two weeks ago, in his “state of HHC” address, HHC President Alan D. Aviles announced plans for a public awareness campaign to promote the availability of the vaccine, which has been available at all HHC facilities since November 2006.
All HHC clinical staff has been trained about the HPV vaccine. However, in light of the inconsistent information provided to the Public Advocate staff by facility telephone operators, HHC will conduct additional training for clinical and non-clinical staff who may also be asked about the availability of the vaccine.
HHC will review all the recommendations made by the Public Advocate and take the necessary steps to promote the availability of the HPV vaccine. We hope New York City women who want this vaccine and parents who wish their daughters to be immunized are not discouraged by this report and continue to seek the life-saving cervical cancer screening and prevention services they need.
HHC is committed to making this vaccine available regardless of a patient’s ability to pay; this policy is standard across all our facilities. HHC staff help patients enroll in available insurance programs if they are eligible. We also offer services at little or no cost through our HHC Options program. Girls under the age of 19 who have no health insurance can qualify for a free HPV vaccine at an HHC facility through the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. In addition, patients under the age of 19 whose family income is up to 150% of the federal poverty level can see an HHC doctor or request vaccinations at no cost. Families whose incomes are between 150% and 400% above the federal poverty levels can visit an HHC doctor for reduced fees of $15 - $30 and can get the HPV vaccine for free.
# # #