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HPV Vaccine Available Soon

Young women in the Cayman Islands will soon have access to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine which protects against some strains of the virus which cause cervical cancer and genital warts.

Minister of Health the Hon. Mark Scotland announced today that a six month pilot project is being undertaken by the Ministry of Health and the Cayman Islands Cancer Society to provide the vaccine, at no cost, to approximately 150 young women between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

An ongoing review will be undertaken to determine the future of the HPV Vaccine programme.

The HPV vaccine will be provided every Wednesday, while supplies last, on a first come first serve basis through the Public Health Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital as of August 26. The clinic will run from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., by appointment only.

Appointments can be made by contacting the Public Health Clinic at 244-2648. Parents or guardians must attend the appointment with their children and give written consent for the vaccine being administered.

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that can lead to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix, vagina and vulva, as well as genital warts. The HPV vaccine protects against 2 types of the viruses that cause cervical cancer and 2 types that cause genital warts.

Dr. Sook Yin, Medical Director of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society says, "The Cancer Society is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Health to make the HPV vaccine available to young ladies in the community. This is a milestone in the prevention of cervical cancer in the Cayman Islands."

The Hon. Minister commended the ongoing collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Cancer Society. "Our immunization programme continues to be among our best investments. I encourage young women and their parents or guardians to take advantage of this immunization programme." said Mr. Scotland.

The HPV vaccine is given as a course of 3 injections administered at set intervals over a 6-month period. The vaccine is of greatest benefit if it is administered before the onset of sexual activity.

A public awareness campaign about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine will be undertaken by the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the Public Health Department using a variety of outlets including media interviews, advertisements, public education presentations in schools, to Home School Associations and at specially organized district awareness sessions. Leaflets will also be available at the awareness sessions and from the Cayman Islands Cancer Society on Maple Road, all Health Services Authority facilities, doctor's offices and libraries.