In pursuit of our mission to advance the health and well-being of the communities we serve, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Cervical Cancer and Prevention Program is now offering free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to reduce cervical cancer incidences among uninsured and underinsured patients in our community. The vaccine, which is being offered through a grant from the United Way of Lancaster County, Women United Group, will be available to Lancaster County women ages 19–45. The three-dose vaccine series greatly reduces the risk of developing cancers caused by HPV.
“Widespread vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer around the world by as as 90 percent. However, cost and access are major barriers,” said Carin J. Molfetta, MSN, CRNP, BC, Family Wellness Clinic, one of two LG Health nurse practitioners who organized the Cervical Cancer and Prevention Program. “At the LG Health Family Wellness Clinic, we see approximately 780 patients per year. Of these patients, 88 percent are uninsured or underinsured, and the majority of patients are women between the ages of 18 and 45.”
While the typical age range for patients to receive the HPV vaccine is between 9 and 12 years old, the CDC has extended the eligible vaccination age to 45. Now, patients who did not have access to the vaccine when they were younger can be protected from HPV.
The HPV vaccine is available to women in Lancaster County who meet one of these requirements:
- Did not complete the required three doses for full vaccination
- Have been previously exposed to the HPV virus
- Are LG Health employees who also meet the above criteria
“LG Health is bettering the lives of Lancaster County women and making an impactful change by reducing the risk for cancers caused by the HPV virus. We are thankful to the United Way for supporting our fight to stop the spread of HPV and cervical cancer,” said Julie Stover, MSN, CRNP, BC, nurse practitioner, Family Wellness Clinic and co-organizer of the program.
The Family Wellness Clinic has begun administering free vaccines and will continue until July 31. Women are encouraged to register by calling 717-544-4320 before July 1 in order to receive the full vaccination series by the end of July.
The grant provides vaccines to eligible women in Lancaster County. Men, and those who may not be included in the grant, should contact their primary-care provider to learn more about the HPV vaccine.