Since 2017, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has embarked on a vaccination programme to reduce the incidence of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer, the second most common cause of cancer in women worldwide and the second leading cause of death among women in Jamaica.
According to a 2010 study conducted by the Ministry, HPV types 16 and 18 were found to be present in 10.5 per cent of the general population.
The programme which is entering its third year is primarily school-based, but is also accessible at health centres islandwide and can also be administered during school medicals upon request. The vaccine which is non-mandatory is administered in two doses within a six-month period (for full protection) and is free of cost.
Who Should get Vaccinated
• All girls ages nine to fourteen years
How the Programme Operates in Schools
• Authorised public health personnel confer with schools to schedule the most suitable dates and times to take the vaccine to the students
• Parents are made aware of the schedule by the respective school and are asked to sign and return a consent form along with the immunisation card for the particular student which should be handed in on the day of the vaccination session
• The girls are advised of the procedure and observed after inoculation. Their cards are also updated
How the Programme Operates at Health Centres
• Parents and guardians who are unable to have their charges access the vaccine at the times scheduled have the option of taking children to the nearest health centre. The student’s immunisation card must be presented at this time.
To date, a total of 27,670 doses have been given; this figure includes 17,367 first doses and 10,275 second doses. The programme which is ongoing is targeting some 22,500 girls for the intervention.
For additional information, contact:
Ministry of Health & Wellness
10-16 Grenada Way