$2 million in funding to tackle HPV vaccine hesitancy in NWT

The funding will help researchers determine why their is vaccine hesitancy about the HPV inoculation. (Supplied by Pexels.)
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The University of Alberta has received $2 million in funding to research how best to tackle hesitancy about the HPV vaccine in the NWT.

The vaccination rate for HPV is 55 per cent in the NWT, compared with up to 92 per cent in other parts of Canada, according to Hotıì ts’eeda, who are partnering with the university of the project.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and the main cause of cervical cancer.

The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that more than 70 per cent of sexually active people will have a sexually transmitted HPV infection at some point in their lives.

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Researchers will consult with residents in two NWT communities, and also analyze data about the COVID-19 vaccine uptake and how efforts against hesitancy for the COVID-19 vaccine could be applied to the HPV vaccine.

Consultations will take place on the land during activities like hunting, beading and hide-tanning.

The statement from Hotıì ts’eeda says the researchers will use a consultation method known as “Two-Eyed Seeing”, which incorporates the strengths of both Indigenous and western ways of knowing.

“Vaccine hesitancy research is timely, and Hotıì ts’eeda is proud to support it,” John B. Zoe, Chair of Governing Council, Hotıì ts’eeda: NWT SPOR SUPPORT Unit. “Ultimately, this work could reduce rates of cancer and improve vaccine uptake in general in the NWT.”

The five-year project is led by the University of Alberta’s Dr. Sangita Sharma and the Indigenous and Global Health Research Group. 

Partners from the NWT include Hotıì ts’eeda: NWT SPOR SUPPORT Unit and the Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services.

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