Health Ministry aims to boost HPV vaccination

Guyana is taking steps to increase the uptake of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as the country marks immunisation week 2024.
The global event, observed from April 24 to 30, carries the theme ‘Humanly Possible: Immunization for All.’
Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony noted the country’s commendable performance in general child immunisation, achieving coverage rates between 98 to 100 per cent.
However, there remains a challenge in administering the HPV vaccine, with only 40 per cent of children aged nine to 15 receiving the jab.
“We want to take this up to close to 90 per cent and therefore we still have a lot of work to do,” Dr Anthony told the Department of Public Information (DPI) during a recent interview.
“It’s important because if you get the HPV vaccine it can prevent cervical cancer and for boys, because we are doing it for both boys and girls, it can prevent other types of genital cancers,” Dr Anthony stated.
The health minister announced that the vaccine is now available to women up to 45 years old. Women aged 16 to 25 require two doses, while those aged 26 to 45 require three.
Emphasising the vaccine’s role in cervical cancer prevention, Dr Anthony outlined countries with high vaccination rates experiencing a notable decline in cervical cancer cases.
“So, by getting this vaccine you can prevent yourself from getting cervical cancer and possibly dying from cervical cancer, so we can change this with a vaccine that is widely available and it is free of cost. The government is providing it,” Dr Anthony underscored.
Guyana boasts impressive coverage rates across various vaccines, including injections for pregnant women.
Meanwhile, World Immunisation Week aims to raise awareness and enhance coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases, an annual endeavour observed during the last week of April. (DPI)…[+]