HPV Immunisation on track during Round 1 of 2016
Western Cape Government Health is happy to report that 32 870 of a possible 41 957 Grade 4 girls 9 years old and older received the first of two doses of the HPV Vaccine during Round 1 of this year’s campaign. This covers 78% of the girls. There is however still a second chance for the somewhat 15% of qualifying girls who did not present with a signed consent form on vaccination day. Those girls will receive their first dose of the vaccine during Round 2 and their second dose during round 1 of 2017.
The HPV immunisation campaign, currently in its third year, is in line with international health practice and aims at protecting women from contracting HPV related Cervical Cancer. HPV related cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer and responsible for the death of one in every eight women in South Africa.
HPV is a very common virus and is responsible for a number of other infections. There are 52 strains of the virus, just as in the case of colds and ‘flu, the virus has different strains. The two that cause cervical cancer are HPV types 16 and 18. The HPV immunisation protects against contracting these viruses. The immunisations work in the same manner that any of the other immunisations given from birth up until 12 years of age, namely that the immunisation protects or helps boost the body’s ability to resist infection.
As adults, our immune systems are no longer as strong as they are in childhood; this is why some say that they feel as if they are getting a cold after having a ‘flu vaccination. Due to the fact that the HPV and other childhood vaccinations are administered to young people the side effects are minimal, or as in most cases completely absent and their bodies absorb the immunisation (serum) better – thus offering improved protection from the illness.
Without immunisations, illnesses such as small pox and polio would still be causing death and disability to many otherwise healthy children. Measles is another illness which is controlled by vaccination; measles hold many risks for children and was in the previous century responsible for conditions such as blindness and deafness in children.
Immunisation remains the most effective manner in which to avoid illness and promote healthy individuals and communities. Immunisations are free of charge! Immunisations protect us into adulthood.
Without a signed consent form to vaccinate against HPV, 9 year old girls in grade 4 cannot be immunised against a virus that causes cancer.
Cervical Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women in South Africa, 3000+ women die annually from Cervical Cancer.
As parents and guardians of our future adults we need to remember:
A child must be immunised to enjoy the benefits of vaccines. Parents and guardians have a responsibility, not only to the future health of our children, but also to the future health of our country. The more people that are immunised the better the health of the community.
The HPV Vaccine is administered in two doses, Round 1 and 6 months later Round 2. If your child missed the vaccine during round 1, as they may not have turned 9 during the first round, you have another opportunity to make sure that she is vaccinated by completing the consent form sent to you by the school. Please note that consent to vaccinate your child, is your decision and not one that should be made by anyone else but you and your family. Please speak to the nurse at your clinic or pharmacy if you have any questions or alternatively follow one of the following links where our experts on HPV and HPV related cancer are interviewed, or go to the Frequently Asked Questions pages which are available in all three languages.
Round 2 of 2016 will take place from 10 August to 6 September 2016, all girls in Grade 4 who are nine years or older and who presented with a signed consent form during round 1 will receive their second and final dose, while those girls who were not vaccinated during the first round will have the opportunity to be vaccinated, if they present with a signed consent form. Consent forms are available at the school your child attends.
1. Comparative Infographic: Provincial HPV Immunisation Coverage
For more information:
FAQs in all 3 Languages: