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Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti begin vaccination against cervical cancer today

Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti states will today commence the second phase of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination aimed at combating cervical cancer.

Daily Trust reports that 16 states had launched the campaign against HPV in October 2023. In the South West, Lagos, Ogun, and Osun were part of the first phase of the vaccination initiative.

At a two-day media dialogue titled “Combating the Most Preventable Form of Deadly Cancer Affecting Women and Girls through Vaccination” held in Lagos ahead of the flag-off, stakeholders expressed concern over the impact of misinformation and disinformation on the success of the vaccination exercise.

They cautioned against the spread of rumours and false information.

Dr Ijeoma Agbo, a UNICEF health specialist at the Lagos field office, told newsmen that the vaccination achieved over 50 per cent success during the first phase, which began in Ogun, Osun, and some northern states last year.

However, she noted that Lagos recorded less than 50 per cent vaccination coverage due to rumours and misinformation about the vaccines.

Dr Agbo highlighted the high burden of cervical cancer, poor access to HPV vaccination services, inadequate screening and treatment, and low awareness as significant challenges.

She urged parents and guardians to ensure their teenage girls receive the vaccination.

Aderonke Akinola-Akinwole, a social and behaviour change specialist at UNICEF, noted that misconceptions about the vaccine could reduce trust and lead to hesitancy in uptake.