Guyana expands HPV vaccination in hopes of beating cervical, other cancers


Though the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine was initially given to boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 15, it is now being administered to older folks in hopes of protecting people against cervical cancer and numerous other cancers.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, during his COVID-19 update on Friday, said that Guyana made the decision to do so, in keeping with advice from international health authorities.

Boys and girls aged nine to 15 will receive a single dose of the vaccines; those 10 to 18 years old will receive two doses, while those aged 19 to 45 years and those people who are immunocompromised will receive three doses.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony (DPI, 2022)

This is in keeping with advice from global health authorities, the Health Minister said.

HPV is one of the most common sexually-transmitted viruses and causes cervical cancer, the second more prevalent cancer in Guyanese women. Importantly, though, Dr. Anthony said that the virus can cause many other types of cancer including genital cancer.

As such, he said, “We really want people to ensure that they get vaccinated against these viruses.”

A large-scale vaccination campaign has been launched, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, to help the country combat the prevalence of cervical cancer and other types of cancers.

If the HPV vaccine is administered consistently over the next few years, Dr. Anthony said the country will see a reduction in these types of cancers.

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