Threats Against HPV Vaccine
On October 24, 2023, the federal government launched the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that prevents infection from certain types of human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause a range of conditions in men and women, such as cervical cancer.
After the launch of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, public awareness is low and threatens to jeopardize the project to vaccinate young girls against the sexually transmitted infection said to cause cervical cancer.
A month after the launch, lot of persons seemed not to understand what the vaccine is all about.
Is it those free vaccines that the government is giving? She asked further. “I saw some people in my church vaccinating some children but I didn’t ask what it is about. What is it for?”
Many have heard about this vaccine but have vowed never to take it, mothers refused their daughters to take it too.
“I heard about the vaccine over the radio. One of the presenters in a program I was listening to spoke about it this morning. The way he spoke about it, I don’t think it is something I would allow my daughter to take,” she said.
When the vaccine was rolled out last month by the Ministry of Health, through the platform of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, a five-day mass vaccination campaign was taken to schools and communities in 16 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that in Nigeria, Cervical Cancer is the third most common cancer and the second most frequent cause of cancer deaths among women aged between 15 and 44, and that Nigeria recorded 12,000 new cases and 8,000 deaths from cervical cancer in 2020.
The international organization added that vaccination against HPV, and screening and treatment of pre-cancer lesions, is a cost-effective way to prevent cervical cancer.
Nigeria is targeting girls aged 9 to 14, to capture them before they get exposed to the virus as it is contracted majorly through sex.
“You hear parents say ‘My daughter is well brought up. She doesn’t need it.’ But if you are sure of your daughter, you’re not sure of your son-in-law. So, this vaccine is for you to get protected in case you get exposed.
The first phase of the vaccination involved states like Abia, Bauchi, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Enugu, Jigawa and Taraba.
Other states include Kano, Kebbi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun and the FCT.
The second phase of the vaccination introduction is set to start in May 2024 in 21 states.