Administering of HPV Vaccine Going Smoothly – Dr. Tufton

Photo: Garwin Davis Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right), watches as Nurse Nicola Brooks administers the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to an Ocho Rios High School student. The Minister visited the school in St. Ann on Friday (October 6), where the vaccine was being given to grade -seven students.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says administering of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to grade-seven girls in schools has been going well.
  • He informed that the Ministry has stepped up its public education in the past weeks and “intends to do more in the weeks and months to come as we follow through on the programme”.
  • The Ministry of Health has been administering the HPV vaccine at high schools since October 2 to protect girls against cancer of the cervix. It is free of cost and optional.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says administering of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to grade-seven girls in schools has been going well.

“Reports and what I have seen would suggest that the process is going smoothly,” he said.

He informed that the Ministry has stepped up its public education in the past weeks and “intends to do more in the weeks and months to come as we follow through on the programme”.

“We can always find areas to improve, and where there are queries we will certainly respond to them. We are always willing to listen to suggestions, but so far…so good,” he added.

Dr. Tufton was speaking to reporters at the Ocho Rios High School, St. Ann, on Friday (October 6) where the vaccine was being dispensed.

The Ministry of Health has been administering the HPV vaccine at high schools since October 2 to protect girls against cancer of the cervix. It is free of cost and optional.

Dr. Tufton reported that the vaccine has been given to students in 11 schools, to date, and the take-up rate has been about 80 per cent.

He indicated that for those parents who have not consented, this was due primarily to the need for further information and clarification rather than any concerns about the safety of the vaccine.

“That is why another phase will be following up with those who have opted out, so as to provide more clarification on the concerns they might have,” he said.

“We want them to take a decision based on information, and, yes, we expect the numbers to go up as we go along,” he added.

Dr. Tufton said he had taken the trip to Ocho Rios High School to observe the process and ensure that “it communicates and reflects exactly what it is that we are doing”.

The Health Minster again assured that the HPV vaccine is safe, noting the Ministry has done its due diligence and research.

He said he is well aware of the concerns, noting that there is “a minority of the world’s population that feels that vaccinations are not supposed to be administered, because of the nature or the approach as to what defines a vaccine and how it is to be administered”.

He said, however, that vaccination has saved millions of lives and has been working in Jamaica for many decades.

“We have to be driven by the science and the reality. It has worked in Jamaica. In fact, Jamaica has given vaccines as far back as the 1940s or before. I recall going to school to get my mumps, measles and chickenpox shots. This is not an experiment. This has been a tried, tested and proven science, which has been endorsed by experts around the world,” Dr. Tufton said.

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