Controversial HPV Vaccine Now Available In Antigua

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Public health officials hve begun administering the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines from July 2nd, 2018 to reduce the risk of cancers caused by the HPV virus.

The HPV virus causes almost all cervical cancers in women and also other cancers and genital warts in both males and females,

The primary target group for the vaccine is boys and girls ages 9-13 years so that the body will best develop its defense against the HPV virus.

The vaccine works best if it is given before exposure to HPV – that is, before sexual activity commences, although HPV can also be transmitted through skin to skin contact, kissing, contaminated objects like towels, sheets, clothing, floors & gym equipment.

The HPV vaccine is also recommended for young women and men up to 26 years of age. It is administered as an injection in the muscle of the upper arm. Two doses are given to males and females 9 – 14 years of age over a 6 to 12-month period, while males and females 15 – 26 years will receive 3 doses in all, 2 and 6 months respectively after the first dose.

Participation in the HPV vaccination programme is voluntary and is administered free of charge. The vaccine can be accessed at the following locations daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Mondays – Thursdays and 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Fridays:

  • John’s Health Center
  • Jennings Clinic
  • Browne’s Avenue Health Centre
  • Bishop Gate Clinic
  • Grays Farm Health Centre
  • Clare Hall Health Centre
  • All Saints Health Centre
  • Newfield Clinic
  • Johnson’s Point Clinic

 

During the month of July, several other clinics will also administer the vaccine namely, in Parham, Willikies, Bethesda, and Bendals.

In Barbuda, the HPV vaccine will be administered on July 6 at the Pentecostal Church from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Other dates will be announced for Barbuda

All persons are encouraged to have a meal before taking the vaccine.  They are also asked to bring along their health card or some other form of identification.

The HPV vaccination and Pap smear programmes in the local health centers seek to reduce preventable sickness and death caused by HPV. In 2014, data from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) revealed cervical cancer as the second most common cancer in the Caribbean. Additionally, results of the 2013 (PAHO) Cervical Cancer Assessment highlights that Cervical Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, the Medical Association of Antigua and Barbuda, in a statement issued on Tuesday, June 26th “endorses the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for cancer prevention and other HPV associated diseases and applauds the Ministry of Health on this initiative that will save lives.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Why are people in the so-called developed world not embracing this vaccine? Is it being administered in the “third world “ as an experiment?

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