New Telegraph

Lagos Govt To Begin HPV Vaccination For Pre-Teen Girls

…urges parents to embrace vaccination

As part of the activities to implement the first phase of free Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for girls between 9 to 14 years in Lagos, the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (LSPHCB) has urged parents to give their consent for their wards to get vaccinated.

The LSPHCB made the call yesterday at a one-day media orientation campaign where both the government and stakeholders discussed the importance of the vaccine.

The stakeholders were also united on providing the free vaccination which will be rolled out from September 25 to 30.

The first phase of the vaccination for pre-teen girls will be carried out in 16 states in Nigeria. They include; Lagos, Abuja, Nasarawa, Kano, Jigawa, Enugu, Abia, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa, Kebbi, Osun and Ogun states.

Following the first phase, in the first half of 2024, 21 states in Nigeria will roll out more vaccines.

Director of Health Education and Health Promotion Services, Mrs. Clara M. Owojuyigbe, who represented the Permanent Secretary said it was imperative for the Gardasil vaccines to start being used in Nigeria to prevent the disease from being as endemic as it currently was in the country.

“The vaccine is a preventive measure against HPV infection and it will help to ensure that our young girls are protected before they become sexually active.

“About 70,000 thousand new cases Pfizer HPV are recorded annually and with the rollout of the vaccine, approximately 17,000 deaths will be prevented. We are appealing to parents, religious leaders and community leaders to bring their children and wards to get vaccinated.

“We will be taking the vaccinations to churches, mosques, schools, markets, primary healthcare centres and private hospitals that are being used as immunization centres.

“The vaccine is expensive but the government is making it available for pre-teen girls for free and it is important that the community takes advantage of this,” Owojuyigbe said.

The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) Adolescent Health and HPV Vaccine Introduction Consultant to Lagos state, Boma Utobo, said cervical cancer was the second most common cancer in Nigeria and the fourth most common in the world.

Utobo said it was important for parents to bring their girl children for the HPV vaccination as the myths and misinformation surrounding it did not hold water.

“For every vaccination, there are side effects that are common. It is allergic to some.

After vaccination, the person might get a little fever or swelling in the area that was injected. These are normal reactions and parents should not use this as a reason not to bring their pre-teen daughters for vaccination.

“The vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95 per cent and the HPV vaccination has been used in other countries like the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), China and India.

”Success stories have been wherever it is used, and we want to replicate that success here. One shot of the vaccine is enough to protect the body against HPV infection for a lifetime,” Utobo concluded.

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