HPV vaccination now part of school-based immunization in Albay
ALBAY, Philippines – The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is now part of the school-based immunization in Albay.
The HPV vaccination will start in August in the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco, and Ligao.
The Department of Education (DepEd), together with the Department of Health (DOH) and the local government recently held a ceremonial vaccination at Puro Elementary School in Legazpi City to relaunch the Oplan sa Kalusugan (OK sa DepEd) program.
DepEd medical officer June Orense said HPV infection is among the top 5 leading causes of cancer in the Philippines, particularly cervical cancer. In the Philippines, cervical cancer is one of the top 5 causes of mortality among women.
Legazpi City health officer Fulbert Alec Gillego said this vaccination should be treated as a preventive measure against cervical cancer.
The HPV vaccine is recommended before young girls become sexually active.
Under the government's school-based immunization, the vaccine is administered to grade 4 girls aged 9 to 14 years old who are attending public elementary schools. Barangay health programs also include HPV immunization for ages 9 to 14.
The vaccine is given in two doses, with the second dose administered to the student 6 months after the first dose.
Rovy Barado was one of the 3 students who were given the HPV vaccine at PES. Their parents completed consent forms prior to the vaccination.
Francia, Rovy's mother, said she gave her approval because she had confidence in vaccines.
"My children have benefited from vaccines by boosting their immune system. That's why I didn't have second thoughts," she said.
A member of the parents-teachers association at PES also wanted her daughter to be given the HPV vaccine once she reaches the fourth grade. She said the orientation helped her understand the benefits of the vaccine.
"I hope my husband and I could attend an orientation together, especially that he's hesitant about this vaccine," she added.
Education officials believe parents respond better to vaccination campaigns when a medical officer is around to explain these matters during orientations.
Michelle Ann Lanuza, one of the teachers at PSE, said she also wanted to be vaccinated since it was "better to have a protection against diseases."
The OK sa DepEd program was relaunched as an effort to ensure children get the basic primary health and dental care they need. – Rappler.com