The untimely death of actress Mira Wanting due to cervical cancer has spurred women across the country to get the vaccination that can prevent the illness. Appointments to get the HPV vaccination, which is offered for free to women up age 27, have increased tenfold, according to DLVS, a vaccination service, since Wanting’s death on December 22.
There is a noticeable increase in demand that can only be due to the increased media attention following (Wanting’s) death,” Karsten Østergaard, the head of DLVS, which handles about 20 percent of vaccinations nationwide, told Ekstra Bladet newspaper.
Østergaard said the death of a familiar face helped the public to realise that information available about cervical cancer and its prevention is more than “just statistics”.
“Hopefully the madness of this tragic death will help prevent similar cases,” said Østergaard.
Before Christmas, the vaccination services at thirty clinics nationwide were averaging about ten new appointments to receive the HPV vaccination daily. The number has increased to nearly 100 a day since Wanting’s death.
In 2009, the HPV vaccine was included in child vaccination programmes and offered to girls starting at age 12 .The number of people able to get it for free has since been expanded and starting in August women between the ages of 20 and 27 were made eligible. About 80,000 women and girls have received the first of the three shots in the past five months.
Østergaard said that since Wanting’s death there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women aged 30-60 calling to find out whether they need to be vaccinated.
According to Statens Serum Institut, which is responsible for preventing infectious diseases, HPV is a common virus that often does not have any symptoms. The vaccine works best if the person getting it has not yet been infected with a type of HPV. Many adult women have already contracted HPV, reducing the benefits of being vaccinated, which is why the free system focuses on young women.
Wanting achieved recognition as teenager in the 1999 film 'Kærlighed ved første hik'. She leaves behind two daughters – Alberta, 13, and Filippa, 2.