Why is HPV vaccination rate low among young people with a non-Western migration background?

Although the campaign ‘Don’t miss it’ is intended for all young people, Zemouri hopes that it will mainly reach young people of, for example, Turkish or Moroccan origin. “Research shows that the group of young people with a migration background who come to get the shot is very small, much smaller than the Dutch young people,” she says to Editie NL. “Ultimately, it’s about getting as many people as possible vaccinated, but personally I think it’s important that the group that is so low is reached.”

HPV vaccination rate

There is a low vaccination rate for the HPV virus among young people with a non-Western migration background. Especially with Turkish and Moroccan children.

61.4 percent of young people who have not migrated have themselves vaccinated, compared to 14.5 percent of young people with a non-Western migration background.

She thinks that the vaccination rate among this group of young people is so low because the virus is associated with having many sex partners, for example. “These young people think it only affects groups that do a lot of physical acts, such as sex workers, but that’s not true.”


In addition, according to her, ignorance also plays a role. “They are not familiar with the virus, they do not know how contagious it is and how you get it in the first place. Young people hear the word STD and think that a condom protects against it,” she continues. “But that is not the case with HPV. You can also get it through prolonged kissing or through other sexual acts.”

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What also makes it difficult is that as a woman you can only find out if you have the virus when you have a smear test when you are thirty. As a man you cannot get tested for the virus, so you only find out when you have it. “But then the virus may have already formed cancer cells.”

Ummahan Özmen Gargili also knows how important it is to get the vaccine. She got cancer from the HPV virus “I have Turkish blood, so I know that I belong to the largest group of Dutch people who do not get vaccinated against the HPV virus,” she tells Editie NL. She found out at the age of thirty that she was carrying the virus and that the virus had developed into cancer. Fortunately, the cancer was treatable. “It made me very ill, but luckily they were there in time so I could get treatment. I’ve had cancer before. So the GP immediately sent me to the hospital.”

In her time, an HPV vaccination was not yet available. “But my daughter has had it now. I think it is very important that more people do this because it can prevent so much misery.”

2023-06-08 13:34:48
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