HPV vaccine reduces risk of cervical cancer

Over 350 000 young girls have been potentially saved in the Western Cape over the past decade. This is according to the Western Cape’s Health & Wellness Department, who vaccinated girls in Grade 5 and over the age of nine, for the human papillomavirus (HPV).The department said since 2014, reachi nearly 1 200 schools annually. 

Vaccinating against HPV reduces the risk of getting cervical cancer as adult women.

The department’s vaccination campaign started on 6 February and will run until 20 March 2024, whereby school health teams of the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness will be visiting public and special schools to administer the cancer-prevention HPV vaccine for free. All girls in Grade 5 over the age of nine years old are eligible for a single dose of the vaccine.

“We know the famous saying, ‘prevention is better than cure,’ and nothing screams prevention like the HPV campaign, that aids our grade five girls at an early age in the development of antibodies against cervical cancer. This campaign empowers our young women to think and take action to protect their future and health,” says Sr Tamera Jones, a school health nurse at the Goodwood Community Day Centre.

PICTURE: Pixabay

School health nurse Sr. Mpumelelo Makhubo, from the Delft CHC Delft Community Health Centre, has encouraged parents to send back consent forms in order for nurses to provide the HPV vaccine.

“It is very important that our girls receive the HPV vaccine to reduce their chances of developing cervical cancer. Girls in grade 5 are eligible for the vaccine, but we cannot protect our girls without your consent. Remember to send back the consent forms or to reach out if you have any questions about the vaccine.”

“The HPV vaccination programme achieves over 80% coverage annually, demonstrating high acceptance in communities and benefitting more girls in decades to come. This vaccine provides a unique opportunity for us to join hands with communities and invest in the health of women and future of girls in the Western Cape. My granddaughter has had the same HPV vaccine to protect her against cervical cancer. I would like to implore fellow parents of eligible girls to choose to vaccinate against HPV this year,” said Sonia Botha, the Western Cape’s coordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation.

The Department’s HPV vaccination programme forms part of global efforts by the World Health Organisation (WHO) 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. With wide vaccination coverage of girls over the age of nine, it is possible to eliminate HPV in the next few years.


Done by: Mitchum George


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