HPV vaccinations continue across Gauteng

The Gauteng Health Department is pleading for cooperation from parents, guardians and caregivers during the current human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign in public schools.

The second round of the HPV national vaccination campaign is currently underway in the province.

The department said vaccination drives aim to protect young girls from developing cervical cancer later in life. The campaign is conducted biannually and is undertaken in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education in all public primary schools and public special schools as part of the Integrated School Health Programme.

The HPV second dose campaign, which began on 22 August will end on 27 September. It will be administered to Grade 4 girls, nine years and older, who received their first HPV dose during the first round in February and March.

“Grade 4 girls who did not receive their first dose during the first HPV round due to being underage, absenteeism or had no consent forms and the parent has now provided a new consent form will also receive the vaccination.

“Girls who received their first HPV dose in August or September when they were in Grade 4 last year will now get the second dose,” the department said on 5 September.

The Department confirmed that no one will be immunised without having a signed consent form. Once a form is signed, however, it is valid for the first and second vaccination rounds, unless parents or legal guardians change their minds.

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus is a common virus that infects people and could eventually cause cervical cancer. There are over 200 types of HPV viruses and research has shown that HPV types 16 and 18 accounts for 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases.

The HPV vaccine is very safe and effective in preventing the HPV 16 and 18 strains of the virus.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer affects the lower part of the womb, which is called the cervix. Cancer is when abnormal cells in the human body start to grow very quickly and cannot be controlled by normal body processes.

Over some time the normal cells are then replaced by cancer cells. Without early diagnoses and treatment, the effects can be fatal.

Source: The Gauteng Department of Health.

Related articles:

Gauteng-wide HPV vaccination campaign underway

Global discussions around adult vaccination

Chantelle Fourie

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