700,000 girls to get HPV vaccine

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Over 700,000 young girls nationwide are expected to be given the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine despite fears over its alleged side effects.

Health Secretary Janette Garin yesterday reported that the government has expanded the HPV immunization drive to 47 provinces covering an estimated 726,000 young girls.

“The DOH allocated P795 million for this year’s Laban Para sa Kababaihan Proteksyon sa Kinabukasan program, which is already ongoing and being implemented with the help of local government units,” she said.

Garin said the DOH has vaccinated a total of 272,805 girls from 20 poorest areas to protect them from the potentially deadly cervical cancer.

The DOH launched the anti-cervical cancer program with 350,000 Grade 4 public school students from the poorest provinces as initial target, she added.

Garin said the program was supposed to be school-based, but the agreement with the Department of Education for its implementation failed to push through, so the DOH temporarily shifted the campaign through local governments.

“The DepEd raised some questions, including fears of side effects on the children, but we have answered all of them,” she said.

“We are just awaiting the approval of DepEd so we could shift its implementation from local governments to school-based.” 

Garin dismissed as unfounded and mere misconception the fears of some sectors that the HPV immunization campaign will encourage promiscuity among Filipino girls.       

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