Wednesday 12 August, 2020

Jamaican youth group lauds health ministry for HPV vaccine initiative

The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) has lauded the Ministry of Health on its initiative aimed at providing the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to all 7th grade girls.

The introduction of this vaccine is a proactive measure in tackling cervical cancer, which has been recognized as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Jamaica and the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, JYAN said in a news release.

"The vaccine will help to create antibodies that prevent infection of HPV 16 and 18 ultimately boosting the immune system of our girls and providing protection from the virus," said the youth group, adding that "It is critical that we ensure that the health and wellbeing of our girls is accounted for from the earliest practical age."

The delivery of this vaccine will involve girls in the 7th grade being given two doses, with the first being administered in October and the second, six months after.

"Despite reservations and fears surrounding the possible side effects of the vaccine, it is important to note that more than 200 million doses have been administered to women and girls worldwide without any reports of significant side effects," JYAN said.

"Given the importance of this vaccine and the risks associated with cervical cancer, we urge parents to act in the best interest of their daughters and encourage the vaccination process. Where parents have questions and concerns, they should reach out to the Ministry of Health for additional information," the youth advocacy group said.

Additionally, where parents desire to vaccinate their older children, they are urged to contact their private medical
practitioners to facilitate the process.

"As the Ministry of Health continues the rollout of this vaccination we urge them to ensure that the process is transparent and that information is readily available and easily accessible to parents and students alike. The Ministry has a responsibility to respect and protect the rights of our girls by ensuring that they understand the importance of the vaccine and that they appreciate any potential risks," JYAN said.

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