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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have been made available to women up to 45 years of age.
Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said the criteria for the vaccine which helps prevent certain cancers have changed.
“Previously we were only offering these vaccines for persons, both male, and female, nine to 15 years of age, but the new guidelines published by all the reputable organisations dealing with cervical cancer would have advised that we could go beyond 15 years of age. And that is why we have now updated our schedule to include persons beyond 15 years of age, who can access the vaccines. Previously a woman who was 26 years of age could not have had access to these vaccines,” he relayed in a recent interview.
The minister noted that women ages 19 to 45 should receive three doses of the vaccine. Additionally, people with compromised immune systems are given a three-dose regimen.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and is known to cause several types of cancers.
“So, you have cervical cancers, that HPV can cause, you have anal cancers and you have oral cancers, so one way of preventing persons, later in life from getting these cancers is to make sure that they are vaccinated,” the health minister said.
Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among women in Guyana. The health ministry currently has a campaign being run simultaneously with the COVID-19 vaccination.
“We can prevent this by ensuring that all women in Guyana get vaccinated, so that’s one of the reasons why we have this campaign to educate, especially young people, about HPV vaccination, what it can do what it can prevent, and once persons get it, would prevent them from getting these types of cancers,” Dr Anthony added.
The HPV vaccines were first launched in Guyana in 2012. (DPI)