By Yas D. Ocampo
Davao City – The city government here plans to administer 10,000 shots of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for women from June 1 to 5 to bolster its campaign against cervical cancer.
The month of May has been designated as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in the Philippines.
The campaign is backed by Proclamation No. 368, which was signed in 2003.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women.
It is the second leading cause of death among women in the Philippines, next only to breast cancer.
“We have 10,000 vaccines available,” City Health Office (CHO) Head Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said.
Among those qualified to get the HPV vaccine are girls aged nine to 13 and women up to 45 years old.
They will be given the three required shots of the vaccines, spaced between months, for free.
The WHO reported that 99 percent of cervical cancer cases, which is the most common reproductive tract viral infection, are linked to genital infection with HPV.
HPV infections are transmitted through sexual contact and also through skin-to-skin contact.
Women can protect themselves from cervical cancer through sexual abstinence, monogamy, regular screening and vaccination.
Persistent genital HPV infections can cause cervical cancer in women.
The HPV vaccine can cost from 3,500 to P4,500 per injection when availed of in private clinics.
However, Villafuerte said the CHO will be giving the HPV vaccines for free.
Villafuerte said the HPV vaccines came from the Department of Health so there was no need for the city to allocate a budget for it.