Don’t worry! That is what health authorities here are telling Barbadians who have fears about the new HPV vaccine being introduced in secondary schools next month.
“It is a vaccine which will prevent cancer of the cervix in women, but it also prevents other cancers, mainly cancer of the vagina, vulva, anus, and some throat cancers as well,” said Senior Medical Officer of Health Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand this afternoon.
“We want to try to allay any fears that the public might have, that it is not a safe vaccine. It is a safe vaccine. We have made sure that this is so; it is registered and licensed by the FDA in the USA, also certified by the World Health Organization, and is used in many countries around the world. We are not the first country that is using this vaccine,” Ferdinand insisted.
She said too that a town hall and parent-teacher associations meeting would be held on December 18 to deal with the new vaccine.
The senior medical officer also stated that third formers’ parents would be invited during the first week or two in January to meet with staff at their particular schools to discuss the matter. Ferdinand also announced that Barbados had recently won the FAO Immunization Shield For Surveillance.
“We received that last week at a meeting in Jamaica that I
attended. Every year, the shield moves around the region for the country for the best work done in EPI surveillance; and I am happy to say we won that last year and this year,” she added. (EJ)