Second dose of HPV ready
?THE SECOND dose of the controversial HPV vaccine is set to be administered at secondary schools.
That news came from Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand, Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health.
“It’s a three-dose vaccine which has to be given at least two months apart. In this month of March, we’re beginning the second dose,” Ferdinand said. “In June/July we’ll begin issuing the third dose of this series and from September we’ll begin the three-dose process again.”
The introduction of the HPV vaccine that targets HPV (the human papillomavirus), the leading cause of cervical cancer, received a tepid response from parents, most of whom refused to allow their first form daughters to receive it.
There are two vaccines available (Cervarix and Gardasil). Gardasil, which is the vaccine used by the Ministry of Health, is also known to offer protection against most genital warts, and has been shown to protect against anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. HPV shots are recommended for children at a young age when they are said to be most effective.
Speaking of the scepticism and hesitancy expressed by many parents, Ferdinand said, “This happens all over the world whenever a new vaccine is introduced and Barbados is no exception.”
Back in January, first form schoolgirls in Barbados were scheduled to have the first dose of the vaccine administered at school under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.
According to Ferdinand, only about 20 per cent of eligible girls were vaccinated in the initial roll-out of the HPV vaccine in January. (SO-H)