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HPV vaccine administered to 309 girls in 4 schools — Tufton

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton a short while ago informed that 309 girls have so far been given the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at four high schools between Monday and Tuesday.

The schools are Oberlin High and Papine High in Kingston and St Andrew and Titchfield High and Happy Grove High in Portland. Only 21 girls did not receive consent, the minister disclosed at a post-Cabinet press briefing this morning.

“So you're looking at well above the 80 percentile participation rate, which is in keeping with the averages that we expect,” he stated.

The vaccine, which protects girls and young women from HPV, a virus that can lead to cancer of the cervix, was rolled out on Monday amidst concerns in the public sphere about the safety of the vaccine.

The health ministry is targeting 22, 338 girls for the vaccine, which is not mandatory at this time.

Meanwhile, Tufton denied reports that the Government is postponing the administering of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to girls in grade seven.

Media reports emerged over the past several hours that the vaccination process was being put off, after colleague minister Senator Ruel Reid, who holds the education portfolio, told a press conference at his ministry yesterday, that the programme was being put on hold for further assessment.

Dr Tufton stressed that there are no mixed signals being sent by the government on the matter. He said instead that, given the nature of the communication process to ensure that all parties — health officers, administrators, parents, students — are on the same page, the Government is rolling out the vaccine where it is fully comfortable that the communication process is clear.

“Because it requires multiple players, there have been inconsistencies in how the communication has been and I think that is a point that both minister Reid and myself appreciate and have discussed,” he said.

Alphea Saunders

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