The Department of Health (DOH) rolled out its wider coverage of its school-based HPV immunization program. A total of 700,000 female public school students from 47 provinces with ages 9 to 12 have been vaccinated to prevent having HPV-caused cervical cancer.
The program previously covered 20 provinces since 2016. The parents were first oriented on HPV and the vaccine as well as the benefits the female students can get once vaccinated. After the orientation, the parents should then sign the consent before their children gets vaccinated.
As of date, the cost of each HPV vaccination is P2,000. However, the initial costs for those infected with HPV and advancing to cervical cancer is P500,000. This is another reason why prevention is better than cure.
The HPV Vaccine in Philippines
Three in every four Filipinas are diagnosed of cervical cancer at the late stage. This is a serious number which the DOH aims to significantly lessen if not irradiate. On the other hand, the chance of achieving extensive population coverage of HPV vaccine largely depend on the acceptability of the Filipinos.
The HPV vaccines specifically protect a woman from four types of HPV infections (HPV 16, 18, 31, 33. HPV 16 and 18) which are associated with 70% of cervical cancer. However, though this breakthrough is remarkable, many are still hesitant to get vaccinated due to lack of information and the cost of vaccination.
This is why parents are given information and a chance to ask their inquiries during the conducted orientation. DOH acknowledges that many Filipinas do not get vaccinated as they think that it is just an additional cost that will get a huge chunk from their daily budget.
Getting vaccinated is only the first step to prevent cervical cancer. Filipinos must still include healthy lifestyle and adopt preventive measures such as Pap Smear and HPV testing.
- Marie Grace S. Ravina,RN