The wife of the president, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has flagged off the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for public use at a ceremony held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
The Papillomavirus is said to be the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract and causes more than 95 per cent of cases of cervical cancer.
The vaccine is designed for use by girls from ages 9-14 years, and it works by stimulating the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against the human Papillomavirus.
When a person receives the vaccine, their immune system recognizes the viral proteins in the vaccine and produces a response that provides protection against HPV infections.
At the opening, Senator Oluremi who said the vaccine would be administered to citizens free beginning from today in all medical facilities across the country, urged parents to avail their daughters of the vaccination.
Stressing that the initiative would not end with the introduction of the vaccine into the routine immunization schedule, she said there must be a focus on education and awareness about the virus.
She said regular screenings must be encouraged and there must be improved access to healthcare with behavioral interventions as well.
“For me, I will recommend that girls who are under 18 years of age and sexually active, avail themselves of the opportunity of this vaccine, to avoid a future of ill health and possibly, death.
“In conclusion, I want to emphasize that the introduction of the HPV vaccine into our routine immunization schedule is a significant step forward in our mission to protect the health and future of our nation’s womenfolk and it will lead to a structured and systematic way of achieving a cervical cancer free generation.”
Noting that the vaccine will also prevent the incidents of cancer and deaths in women, officials explained that the Ministry of Health in partnership with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency are collaborating to ensure its availability for Nigerian girls.
In his remarks, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Mohammed Ali-Pate, said the Nigerian government was serious about the wellbeing of its citizens, just as he tasked parents to ensure that their daughters get vaccinated against cervical cancer.
He assured that the vaccine is safe as it has been tested in other parts of the world with tremendous results.