HPV vaccine safe
By NEWSDAY STAFF Saturday, January 26 2013
HEALTH Minister Dr Fuad Khan yesterday assured that the vaccine against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is safe, despite a number of concerns raised by the public.
Khan gave the assurance in response to questions from reporters following the Ministry of Health’s farewell ceremony for the outgoing Director of Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Mirta Roses Periago, at the ministry’s head office, Park Street in Port-of-Spain.
Asked whether information received by persons that the vaccine was not safe was valid or not, Dr Khan said there is a lot of misinformation circulating.
“I am aware of the misinformation that people are passing around and I wish people would start thinking about the actual two percent of real facts on the websites. Because 98 percent of information received online are anecdotal (based on casual observations or indications rather than rigorous, scientific analysis),” Khan said.
He added that scientific studies have proven otherwise, with 98 percent of them in favour for the use of the vaccine. “Many people had this same reaction when they created a vaccine for Polio. If they did not move forward with the vaccine we would not have had polio vaccinations today, so there would always be persons for and against something,” Dr Khan noted.
The Ministry of Health began its HPV vaccination drive last Wednesday in which more than 70 girls between the ages of 11 and 13 from the El Socorro South Government Primary School and Sacred Heart Girls’ RC School in Port-of-Spain, were vaccinated.
The Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) has also embarked on the vaccination drive as it disclosed that 35 students at Guapo Presbyterian Primary were vaccinated on Wednesday last.
According to a release sent by ERHA, the District Health Visitor Joanna Friday-Bartholomew stated that 42 primary and 12 secondary schools will be targeted in the County of St Andrew/St David.
The release further stated that Senior District Health Visitor, Indardaye Maharaj, noted that the 20 primary and four secondary schools in the County of Nariva/Mayaro also received the HPV vaccination.
HPV is a virus that affects men and women, with various types of HPV affecting the genital area, and causes cervical cancer. “The HPV vaccine is most effective if a female is vaccinated before her first sexual experience,” the release said.
Meanwhile, Dr Khan has blamed doctors for a shortage of beds at hospitals, noting they are not discharging patients as they should. “I have been trying to get doctors to discharge patients on a weekend, but the list goes out on Friday and Monday mornings, but on the weekend there is no discharge because many senior doctors do not make rounds on weekends and they are the ones to authorise discharges,” Khan pointed out.
As such, he recommends that senior doctors allow registrars for different sections to make rounds on weekends and discharge persons accordingly, which Khan said was done when he worked on the wards in years gone by. “If this happens, the discharge rate would increase and bed shortage would decrease,” Khan said.