Gov't Rolls Out Free Cervical Cancer Vaccine Program for Kenyan Girls

Henrietta Strickland
October 19, 2019

The government on Friday rolled out a free cervical cancer immunization program to young Kenyan girls countrywide. In Kenya, the vaccine that will be given Gardasil, also known as Gardisil or Silgard or recombinant human papillomavirus vaccine [types 6, 11, 16, 18], is a vaccine for use in the prevention of certain strains of human papillomavirus, specifically HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18.

The ministry is rolling it out the immunization plan closely with the ministry of education and in collaboration with development partners that include the vaccine alliance Gavi, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The vaccine will be offered nationally alongside other routine infant vaccines through an existing network of more than 9,000 public, private, faith-based and NGO health facilities free of charge to 800,000 girls, who are now aged 10 and subsequently to all girls as they attain that age in the future", said Ms. Kariuki.

The CS said that ten-year-old girls will be getting the vaccine in two doses, six months apart, and for records, they will be issued with cards to determine whether or not they were immunized.

WHO's regional director Dr. Fiona Atahebwe has commended Kenya's s step in introducing the HPV vaccine and confirmed that the vaccine that is to be used in Kenya is safe as it has been tested and does not cause any side effects.

She added: "Already, the country has in place more than 1.3 million doses of the HPV vaccine against a target of 800,000 girls for this year".

Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA) has questioned the decision to administer the vaccine to 10-year-old girls. "The exercise will be taking place alongside other routine vaccinations of children to girls now aged ten and as we continue over the years, girls will get the vaccination when they reach ten years", said CS Sicily Kariuki. They are not at risk of contracting HPV or other STDs.

He said the launch of the vaccination program is a proud moment for Kenya as it marks a major milestone in the fight against cervical cancer.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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