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HPV virus vaccine program proceeding despite some opposition

In November of last year, the Ministry of Health announced plans to vaccinate four thousand young girls from standard four with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine. The Ministry said immunization is one of the most successful public health interventions in the prevention of various communicable diseases and since HPV is linked to cervical cancer, the Ministry believe that vaccinating girls between the ages of 9 and 13 is the best option. When the plan was rolled out three months ago, some parents had concerns over the process and the necessity. Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero told Love News that those concerns hindered the success of the program in its initial stage.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero – Director of Health Services

“I believe the districts up north did more ground work so they have a higher coverage rate, although I don’t have the exact numbers than did for example the southern districts. That is still ongoing, I think we had a fairly good uptake. I mean we had some hiccups along the way but I think we continue to have them but they are primarily, I would say, because of misinformation and I think we were being challenged initially through social media and some media outlets in terms of the efficacy of the vaccine and I know we had some conspiracy theories as well trying to derail what is backed up scientifically. I mean we could have done better had we not have that major hiccup but I think it’s working along and we aim to continue to ensure that it works.”

According to Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, the HPV vaccines have been recommended for the prevention of cervical cancer by the World Health Organization.