04 September 2023
HPV VACCINATIONS IN SCHOOLS: HELP PROTECT YOUNG GIRLS
Between 4 September and 31 October 2023, the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness will administer the second round of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine which prevents cervical cancer.
Girls in Grade 5, over the age of 9, who have received the vaccine earlier this year will be able to have their booster doses after the appropriate parental consent has been obtained. During the first-round of HPV vaccination, a total of 1,044 schools were visited and 76% of the children received their 1st dose, which allows us the opportunity to provide the same number of vaccinations over the second round.
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. As such, the department remains committed in eliminating cervical cancer as effectively as we can through nurses and colleagues who are equally as important in facilitating the intervention through their contributions.
To obtain maximum effectiveness the vaccine needs to be administered before any sexual activity or intimate contact occurs, which means vaccinating as early as aged 9.
“Ensuring the second dose of HPV vaccination gives your daughter the appropriate defense in prevention of cervical cancer later on in life and give you peace of mind in knowing your daughter is protected,” says Sonia Botha, Deputy Director in Child’s Health.
The HPV vaccination campaign is dependent on the support of parents and caregivers and as such, it is necessary that the consent forms completed and submitted to the schools prior to the nurses’ visits.
“We enjoy bringing this opportunity to young girls. By bringing it to the school, parents don’t have to take time off work to take their child to the clinic for this life-saving vaccine,” says Sr Roenell Balie of the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness in the Cape Winelands. “But we do need your help, mom/dad. Please sign the consent form and submit it to the school.”
The HPV campaign brings hope to us all for a world free from cervical cancer, and HPV infection can be reduced if herd immunity is achieved using the vaccine.