The Department of Health is serious about improving the health of women. Health campaigns, free services and vaccinations such as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination all form part of our efforts to improve the health of all women in the Western Cape.
HPV is responsible for 99% of cervical cancer cases. For this reason, health officials have been visiting public and special schools across the province to administer the HPV vaccinations.
When must my daughter be vaccinated?
To provide the best protection against the HPV, 2 doses of the vaccine need to be administered.
Up until 2019, only Grade 4 learners whose parents and caregivers signed consent forms received the HPV vaccinations. The National Advisory Group on Immunisation (NAGI) recommended changing the target to Grade 5 learners in 2020.
In March and April 2022, health teams visited a total of 1 100 schools and achieved a 72% first dose cover of HPV vaccinations.
The first round of this year's campaign takes place from 20 February 2023 until 31 March 2023. The second round of the campaign will be from 4 September until 20 October 2023.
Why is the HPV vaccination necessary?
HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among women after breast cancer. Over 99% of all cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection of high-risk types of HPV.
The vaccination protects girls from being infected by HPV and reduces the risk of developing HPV related cervical cancer later in life. The younger your daughter is, the better her body’s immune system can respond to the vaccine, resulting in the production of protective antibodies against the virus.
The provincial campaign at public and special schools is only targeted at Grade 5 girls over 9 years of age. If your daughter is attending a private school and you would like her to be vaccinated, you need to contact a private health care facility and have the vaccination done privately.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, stated:” It's imperative that we encourage parents to vaccinate their daughters. Maternal and child health forms part of the quadruple burden of disease. The focus is prevention and promotion rather than curative. That is why we appeal to all grade 4 girls to inform their parents, guardians and extended families that the vaccination is available.”
- The prevalence of cervical cancer in South Africa is reported to be between 22.8 and 27 per 100 000 women as compared to the global average of 15.8.
- 5 743 new cases are reported each year.
- Approximately 3 000 women die each year due to cervical cancer in South Africa.
- 99% of cervical cancers are associated with HPV.
- Almost 7 in every 10 people will have HPV at some point in their lifetime.
- 2 strains of HPV (HPV-16 and HPV-18) are found to cause over 70% of the cervical cancer cases.
- Cervarix® is the vaccination that will be administered in 2 doses for optimal cover. It protects against the HPV-16 and HPV-18 strains.
The vaccination is free. You can contact your daughter’s school if you haven't received a consent form yet and find out when the health professionals will be at the school to administer the vaccinations.
Frequently asked questions about human papillomavirus (HPV) English
Frequently asked questions about human papillomavirus (HPV) Afrikaans
Frequently asked questions about human papillomavirus (HPV) isiXhosa
Note: If the signed consent form has not been returned to the school, your daughter will not be vaccinated.
Investment in the future health of our women
The HPV vaccine is an investment in the future health of South African women. The vaccination is administered by a professional team who’ll visit all public and special schools in the province. It’s administered in 2 doses.
For more information, you can:
- refer to these frequently asked questions about HPV, or
- contact a provincial health care facility and help us save our young girls from this preventable disease.