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Western Cape Health embarks on HPV vaccination drive

The Western Cape Health Department is vaccinating 9-year-old girls in public schools against the human papilloma-virus which has been linked to cervical cancer. According to a Cape Argus report, spokesperson for the department Lensie Lotter said the process began on 5 February and will continue until 15 March. The department said the vaccination is a way to prevent girls from being infected with the virus before they become sexually active.

“Vaccination is safe and a preventative precaution. Vaccination is a very effective way of preventing illnesses that not only cause great discomfort, but can lead to death,” Lotter added.

The vaccination requires two doses in a six-month period and is administered by a qualified nurse and injected in the upper arm. However, pupils cannot be vaccinated without the written consent of their parents. “The lack of signed and returned consent forms from parents and caregivers allowing us to administer vaccinations and/or do general health assessments of school-going children remain one of the biggest challenges,” said Lotter.

Athlone resident and mother of three sons Nicolette Sebastian, who has survived cervical cancer, believes that parents should allow their daughters to be vaccinated. “The injections are preventative measures. This virus that causes the cervical cancer lies dormant for years. You never know. Unless you get tested, you don’t know. Many women die of cervical cancer.

[link url=""]Cape Argus report[/link]

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