FG to commence second phase of HPV vaccine rollout May 27

The Federal Government on Friday said the second phase of the Human Papillomavirus vaccination would commence on May 27, 2024.

The Director of Disease Control and Immunisation at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Rufai Garba, disclosed this in Abuja at a one-day sensitisation programme of the National Association of Women Journalists and Women Religious Groups on the vaccine.

The FG on October 24, 2023 introduced the first phase of the HPV vaccine into the routine immunisation system, targeting over seven million nine to 14 girls, which is the largest number in a single round of HPV vaccination in the African region.

The first phase encompassed 16 states, including Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Enugu, Jigawa, Kano, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Taraba, and the Federal Capital Territory.

The second phase will encompass the remaining states – Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that has a silent harbinger of several types of cancers, including cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women aged 15 to 49 years. Nigeria contributes an estimated 12,075 new cases of global cervical cancer annually.

HPV infection has been identified as a high-risk factor, implicated in 95 per cent of cervical cancer cases. With 12,000 new diagnoses and 8,000 lives claimed each year, it translates to 33 new cervical cancer cases and 22 deaths every day in the country.

Garba noted that despite the challenges, the country has begun the distribution of the vaccine to states, noting that the exercise will commence on May 27.

“Every nine to 14-year-old girl deserves protection. HPV vaccine shields them from common strains of HPV that could lead to cervical cancer,” he added.