Female pupils get second round of HPV vaccinations

A Grade 4 leaner receives the HPV vaccination at school.

Provincial Department of Health teams will visit public schools from this week to administer the second round of vaccinations for Grade 4 girls against the Human Papilloma virus (HPV), which is a viral infection that can cause cervical cancer.

In the first round of HPV vaccinations during March, a total of 41 531 girls in Grade 4 were vaccinated.

The second round of HPV vaccinations commenced on Tuesday August 6 and continues until Friday September 20.

The vaccination that will be used is called Ceravix®. It is a preventative precaution that needs to be administered twice with a six-month interval between dosages.

Girls must receive both dosages to ensure effectiveness.

The vaccine is most effective if administered at 9 years of age.

It is administered by a qualified professional nurse by injection to the upper arm and besides a little bit of tenderness at the site of the injection, there are no other side effects.

Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in South Africa and the leading cause of death among women.

More than 3 000 women in South Africa die from cervical cancer every year. HPV is 100% responsible for cervical cancer – the most virulent strains of HPV are Types 16 and 18, which accounts for 70% of all cervical cancers.

The HPV vaccine has been tested and is presently being used in more than 130 countries worldwide. More than 200 million doses of the HPV bivalent vaccine have been administered worldwide.

“It is a World Health Organization recommended vaccine and the Medicines Control Council of South Africa has confirmed that the vaccine is safe for use.

Parents and caregivers are reminded to sign the consent form and send it back to school. Vaccinations can only be done with the parents’/guardians’ signed permission.

For more information, visit www.westerncape.gov.za/news/frequently-asked-questions-about-human-papillomavirushpv-vaccination