Second phase of HPV vaccines sees more than 1 100 Grade 5 learners in WC inoculated

Nursing professionals in the Western Cape, has in the first week of the school immunisation programme (4-8 September 2023), inoculated, 1 129 Grade 5 learners in the province, against human papillomavirus (HPV).

The second phase of the HPV vaccinations in all public primary and special schools in the province, commenced on 4 September and is expected to run until 31 October 2023.

PICTURE: Pixabay

The Western Cape’s Health & Wellness Department said the vaccination will help protect girls from developing cervical cancer later in life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths amongst women aged 15 to 44 years in South Africa, with about 70% of invasive cancers caused by the HPV serotypes 16 and 18.

The WHO aims to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health threat by 2030. The first step towards this goal is to have 90% of girls fully vaccinated against HPV by the age of 15.

The provincial department encouraged parents and guardians to sign and return the required consent form for the second vaccine doses.

“In order for your Grade 5 learners to receive a free HPV vaccine, we need a signed consent form. The vaccine is safe and can prevent cervical cancer, one of the most common cancers in women. But it should be given early, from age nine,” said Sonia Botha, coordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunisations for the Western Cape.

During the first-round of HPV vaccination in the Western Cape, which took place during 20 February until 31 March 2023, 76% of children at 1 044 schools visited, received their first dose.

‘’With wide vaccination coverage of girls over the age of nine, it is possible to eliminate HPV as a human pathogen,’’ added Sonia Botha, coordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunisations for the Western Cape.


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