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Boys to be protected from HPV by 'herd immunity' — Tufton

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton this afternoon responded to concerns from the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is not going to be issued to boys.

The minister, who was making a statement to the House of Representatives, said the “focus is on cervical cancer protection and therefore boys are not being vaccinated at this time”.

While acknowledging that other countries administer to both boys and girls, Tufton said that due to budgetary constraints, the vaccine is being administered to girls alone at this time.

He explained however that once Jamaica achieves 80 per cent coverage with the HPV vaccine, boys would be protected by herd immunity.

Herd immunity or community immunity refers to when a critical portion of a community is immunised against a contagious disease — most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for that disease to spread.

Tufton explained that his ministry will continue to provide credible information on the HPV vaccine by engaging all stakeholders; and conducting public awareness and sensitisation sessions islandwide.

“The Ministry of Health will update the country as we administer the HPV vaccine across the island. We know that this is a new vaccine so we have been monitoring very closely and putting several measures in place out of an abundance of caution in the interest of protecting our nation,” he said.

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