Save your daughter’s life with the HPV vaccine | Western Cape Government


Save your daughter’s life with the HPV vaccine

15 February 2024

The lives of over 350 000 young girls have been potentially saved in the Western Cape over the last 10 years. Parents and healthcare workers teamed up to ensure that young girls are vaccinated against HPV, significantly reducing their risk of getting cervical cancer as adult women. 

From 06 February until 20 March 2024, school health teams of the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness will be visiting public and special schools to administer the cancer-prevention human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for free. All girls in Grade 5 over the age of nine years old are eligible for a single dose of the vaccine. 

“We know the famous saying, ‘prevention is better than cure,’ and nothing screams prevention like the HPV campaign, that aids our grade five girls at an early age in the development of antibodies against cervical cancer. This campaign empowers our young women to think and take action to protect their future and health,” says Sr Tamera Jones, a school health nurse at the Goodwood Community Day Centre.

School health nurse Sr Mpumelelo Makhubo, from the Delft CHC Delft Community Health Centre, has encouraged parents to send back consent forms in order for nurses to provide the HPV vaccine. “It is very important that our girls receive the HPV vaccine to reduce their chances of developing cervical cancer. Girls in grade 5 are eligible for the vaccine, but we cannot protect our girls without your consent. Remember to send back the consent forms or to reach out if you have any questions about the vaccine.” 

Cervical cancer disproportionately impacts the lives of women in the province. With the HPV vaccine available for eligible girls at no cost, parents and caregivers have the most effective tool to help fight cervical cancer and contribute towards the province’s efforts to collectively save many lives. 

The Department has a good track record of administering the HPV vaccine over the last decade. Since 2014, nearly 350 000 vaccines have been administered in the Western Cape, reaching nearly 1 200 schools annually.  

“The HPV vaccination programme achieves over 80% coverage annually, demonstrating high acceptance in communities and benefitting more girls in decades to come. This vaccine provides a unique opportunity for us to join hands with communities and invest in the health of women and future of girls in the Western Cape. My granddaughter has had the same HPV vaccine to protect her against cervical cancer. I would like to implore fellow parents of eligible girls to choose to vaccinate against HPV this year,” said Sonia Botha, the Western Cape’s coordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation. 

The Department’s HPV vaccination programme forms part of global efforts by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health threat by 2030. The first step towards this goal is to have 90% of girls fully vaccinated against HPV by the age of 15. With wide vaccination coverage of girls over the age of nine, it is possible to eliminate HPV in the next few years.