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Free HPV vaccines for pre-teens coming
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan says from November a vaccine will be administered, on a voluntary basis, to pre-pubescent girls to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV). He said so during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. Khan said there was a higher possibility of the vaccine preventing cervical cancer when administered in girls who were not as yet sexually active as opposed to women who were already sexually active. He said the move would be controversial, but there was sufficient information available to convince parents and the girls of the need to take the vaccine.
He said the benefits of taking it “far outweigh its side effects.”
Khan said before the start of the vaccine distribution, a national awareness campaign would be launched. The vaccine is costing the Government some $6 million and is being acquired with the assistance of the Pan American health Organisation (PAHO). He said it would be administered with the “informed consent” of the parent and the child.
He added: “We do hope the parents will buy into these vaccines and we are looking for informed consent not only from the parent, but by the actual recipient of the vaccine.” Khan said some 66,000 doses of the vaccine would be acquired for distribution. He said the initiative was taken to Cabinet on the request of gynaecologists and other public officials. Khan said it was a “novel and new idea” from his ministry, which should result in a reduction in the incidence of cancer of the cervix in the next ten years.
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