Johannesburg – The ongoing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign at government primary schools has been extended to run until 26 April 2023.
The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) on Thursday said: “It wishes to inform parents of school girls that are in Grade 5 and are 9 years old and above that the HPV vaccination campaign’s first round has been extended to run until 26 April 2023 in all public primary schools”.
The GDoH added: “The campaign was due to end on 31 March 2023, however, due to the measles outbreak, which delayed the start of the HPV campaign there are still some schools that are yet to be covered.
“The department appeals to parents, caregivers, and legal guardians who have not yet signed the consent form to do so to ensure that their children do not miss out on the HPV vaccination drive.”
The GDoH said the HPV campaign aimed to protect girls from developing cervical cancer (cancer of the mouth of the womb) later in life.
There are over 200 types of HPV viruses and research has shown that HPV types 16 and 18 account for 70% of cervical cancer cases.
“The HPV Vaccine is very safe and effective in preventing the HPV infection caused by these two HPV strains (type 16 and 18),” the GDoH said.
“A consent form that is signed at the beginning of the year is valid for the whole year.
“It is important that all parents and guardians tick the boxes on the consent form for their child to be screened and vaccinated.
“This consent form will also be used for routine health assessments as part of the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP).”
The ISHP includes the provision of health education, eye, ear, and oral assessments, catch-up immunisations, and deworming, as well as the identification of any other health barriers that can affect a child’s education.