Free HPV Vaccinations Available Feb. 12 in Pine Bluff

By Nate Hinkel

The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccinations will be available from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. at the Pine Bluff Garden Show inside the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Eligible young women include those who are uninsured or have Medicaid or ARKids First. They must be accompanied by a parent. Limited numbers of vaccinations are available and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Research shows that these vaccinations aren’t reaching young women in Arkansas as effectively as we’d like,” said Nancy Andrews-Collins, M.D., associate professor in the UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “By educating the young women and their parents and providing opportunities to get vaccinated, we’re making progress.”

HPV is passed through sexual contact among those not vaccinated. In about 90 percent of its overall cases the virus clears itself from the body naturally. In the remaining 10 percent the risk for developing cervical cancer is a possibility. According to the American Cancer Society, about 12,200 new cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed in 2010 and about 4,210 women died from it. Worldwide, it’s the second-most common cancer among women, with more than 470,000 new cases found each year.

At Saturday’s event, the young women and their parents will begin with an educational segment to give CCEPP coordinators an opportunity to gather data about HPV and cervical cancer. A box lunch will be provided. Following the segment, they can decide whether they want to be vaccinated.

Andrews-Collins said the HPV vaccine is a three-dose process, and those participating will be given post-vaccination information about following up in two months and again in six months. Each girl who participates will receive a T-Shirt and a $20 Wal-Mart gift card. The entire process will take about an hour.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and six institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,836 students and 761 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or