Letter of the Day | Kudos, MOH
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) commends the Ministry of Health on its initiative aimed at providing the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to all seventh-grade girls. The introduction of this vaccine is a proactive measure in tackling cervical cancer, which has been recognised as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Jamaica and the ninth leading cause of deaths worldwide.
The vaccine will help to create antibodies that prevent infection of HPV 16 and 18, ultimately boosting the immune system of our girls and providing protection from the virus. It is critical that we support the health and wellbeing of our girls from the earliest practical age. The delivery of this vaccine will involve girls in the seventh grade being given two doses, the first being administered in October and the second, six months after.
NO SIGNIFICANT SIDE EFFECTS
Despite reservations and fears surrounding the possible side effects of the vaccine, it is important to note that more than 200 million doses have been administered to women and girls worldwide without any reports of significant side effects.
Given the importance of this vaccine, and the risks associated with cervical cancer, we urge parents to act in the best interest of their daughters and encourage the vaccination process. Where parents have questions and concerns, they should reach out to the Ministry of Health for additional information. Additionally, where parents desire to vaccinate their older children, they are urged to contact their private medical practitioners to facilitate the process.
As the Ministry of Health continues the rollout of this vaccination we urge them to ensure that the process is transparent and that information is readily available and easily accessible to parents and students alike. The ministry has a responsibility to respect and protect the rights of our girls by ensuring that they understand the importance of the vaccine and that they appreciate any potential risks.
JYAN remains committed to promoting initiatives that enhance the rights of our adolescents including our adolescent girls. Kudos to the ministry for its proactive and innovative approach to reproductive health issues.
Policy and advocacy officer
The Jamaica Youth Advocacy