Seychelles starts vaccinating boys aged 10-12 against HPV for first time 

Health |Author: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | May 24, 2024, Friday @ 10:23| 3877 views

In May 2014, the Ministry of Health introduced the HPV vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule. (Ted Eytan, Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA 2.0

(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is for the first time giving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to boys aged between 10 to 12 years old and the first batch of three boys from Plaisance Secondary School received the vaccines on Thursday.

Since May 2014, the Ministry of Health introduced the HPV vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule in an effort to reduce girls' risk of developing HPV-related cancers by as much as 80 percent.

When it was introduced in 2014, the HPV vaccine was exclusively available to girls and was a crucial step towards achieving the World Health Organisation's targets of vaccinating 90 percent of girls, screening 70 percent of women, and treating 90 percent of those with cervical disease, with the ultimate goal of eliminating cervical cancer by 2030.

The vaccination programme is now expanding to include boys.

"This is a very important day in our national health initiative. This significant step not only reflects our commitment to improve public health, but also aligns with global efforts to eliminate cervical cancer," said Danny Louange, the chief executive of the Seychelles Health Care Agency. 

According to the WHO, HPV infections are primarily transmitted by sexual contact and are highly transmissible. During one's life course, most sexually active men and women will acquire an HPV infection.

Although most HPV infections are transient and benign, persistent genital infection with certain types can lead to warts and cancers of the cervix and among others.

"HPV is related to the cause of nearly all cervical cancers and affects countless women. But is it also a serious health problem for men, which is why it is crucial to vaccinate everyone, including our boys," said Louange.

He is urging parents to use this opportunity to get their children vaccinated so that their chances of being affected by the disease can be reduced, while its spread can also be decreased.

During the launching ceremony, the health authority explained that the boys' vaccination programme will now run concurrently with the girls' programme. This means that every child between 10 to12 years old will be vaccinated.

The Health Care Agency expects to vaccinate around 800 boys from primary schools all over Seychelles.

"When we introduced the programme in 2014, we wanted to do it for both genders, but with the financial costs, we had to agree to only vaccinate one group, before we could then move on to the boys when we had enough resources," said Mary-Jane Henriette, the head of the Vaccination Programme.

The Vaccination Programme is expected to begin in full soon, with schools working closely with the Health Care Agency to schedule their vaccination dates. 

Tags: human papillomavirus, HPV, vaccines, World Health Organisation, Health Care Agency


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