Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Health

HPV vaccine not mandatory, as MPs play down risks

By Angelos Anastasiou

THE human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer is not mandatory, and it will be administered in the same way as the rest of the vaccinations offered for free by the state, the Health ministry announced on Friday.

In a statement, the ministry said it was responding to press reports claiming that 12 and 13 year old girls will be obliged to take the shot as of September 2016.

Before the vaccination, the ministry added, parents will be asked to sign a consent form.

The misconception arose on Thursday, when it was announced at the House Health committee that the injection would become mandatory for young girls, 12 to 13.

In fact, the decision was that the HPV vaccine will be included in the government’s child and adult immunisation programme.

After the session, DISY deputy Stella Kyriakidou urged parents to have their children vaccinated and said rumours of increased risk by the shot are groundless.

AKEL deputy Stella Mishiaouli welcomed the ‘mandatory’ vaccinations, and said they should be extended to boys, too.

HPV shots have been found to reduce the risk of cervical cancer by up to 70 per cent. It is the only form of cancer that can be immunised against, and HPV shots have been available in Cyprus since 2007.

In a joint statement, DISY and the association of cancer patients and friends (PASYKAF) welcomed the Health ministry’s decision to provide vaccination – though not mandatory – to all girls aged 12 to 13 for cervical cancer.

“Specifically, as of the next school year, all girls aged 12 to 13, some 9,000 in number, in both public and private schools, will be vaccinated by the ministry’s School Healthcare Services,” they said.

“The estimated expenditure has already been budgeted for 2016, to the tune of €300,000.”

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