Govt Announces Free Vaccine for This Cancer

  • The government is set to commence the roll-out of mass vaccination against cervical cancer in two weeks.

    Nation reported that the Ministry of Health is targetting 10-year-old girls, who will receive two free doses of the vaccine against the cancer-causing Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

    The two doses are scheduled to be administered at 9,000 public, private and faith-based facilities countrywide, and will be six months apart.

    A medic administering a vaccine

    The World Health Organisation recommends that for the vaccination to be effective, it should be given to girls between the ages of nine and 14.

    On Tuesday morning, officials from the Ministry of Health met other partners to lay the ground for the rollout. 

    The government has settled on cervical cancer because it is the second most common in Kenya, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

    “It is unfortunate that we lose seven women to cancer every day. This is preventable through vaccination. 

    "If you prevent HPV infection then you can prevent cervical cancer,” stated the Ministry of Health Head of Immunisation, Dr Collins Tabu, during the stakeholders meeting.

    “The HPV vaccine is an extraordinary vaccine. It is the most effective means of preventing cervical cancer and is very safe. I am also a father of girls and all of them have received the vaccine.

    "By vaccinating our girls against HPV we are preventing the disease for life. They will be able to grow, live up to their full potential and prosper,” disclosed WHO Kenya Rep Dr Rudi Eggers, during the briefing

    The plan has however been opposed by doctors affiliated to the Catholic Church.

    Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA), questioned the decision to have 10-year-old girls vaccinated against HPV.

    “At 10 years, our children are not sexually active. They are not at risk of contracting HPV or other STDs. This applies also to other individuals who are not sexually active. It also includes those who are sexually active but are faithful to their partners,” opposed the KCDA chairman, Dr Stephen Karanja, in the statement.

    A photo of the vaccine against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)