The human papillomavirus (HPV) Immunization Program of the Department of Health (DOH) successfully launched in Region I via a momentous kickoff ceremony held at the Cultural Center of Urdaneta City in Pangasinan on November 28, 2023.
HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, which kills 11 women in the Philippines daily. Cervical cancer can be prevented through vaccination.
The activity, which was spearheaded by the City Government of Urdaneta and DOH Regional Field Office I, paved the way for the inoculation of 270 female children aged 9 to 14 years old.
Urdaneta City Health Officer Dr. Rachel Ann Parayno said the kick-off program aims to implement the salient points of the directive from DOH to make HPV vaccination go from school-based to community-based.
The health official also shared that an initial round of HPV immunization was already conducted in their city back in April this year where over 1 thousand individuals were vaccinated.
Parayno added that the free vaccines were indeed of great help, especially since each dose costs around P3,500-P4,000. Minors are recommended to receive two doses while adults need three.
Meanwhile, also among the city officials present during the program was Urdaneta City Sangguniang Panglungsod Member and Committee on Health Chair Councilor Jhan Hero Sumera.
The local legislator said there is already an ordinance passed in their city that made HPV vaccination there no longer exclusive to females aged 9 to 14 years old, but also to teenage moms aged 15 to 19.
Sumera expressed his gratitude to healthcare company MSD in the Philippines, their private sector partner, for providing the doses of HPV vaccines that were used during the launch of the program. MSD is a company committed to ensuring that cancer prevention services and tools are accessible to Filipino patients.
The City Health Office of Urdaneta said the activity conducted today is part of their campaign to make their city cervical cancer-free.
Along this line, said office shared they aim to inoculate 7,000 minors within the specified age group by the month of December through the community-based vaccine drive. In order to do this, they are requesting the National Government to invest in more.
“So we complemented our HPV vaccination campaign to outside target… so ang ginawa po ng ating siyudad nagpasa po tayo ng isang ordinansa kung saan po kasama na ang ating population at risk,” Parayno explained.
With a long list of target vaccine recipients slated for the entire month of December, the City Health Office (CHO) head called on the DOH to make an additional rollout of doses to cover the 7,000 recipients of the HPV jabs.
“Baka sakali po matulungan nyo (DOH) kami sa additional doses na kailangan namin para sa community implementation.”
Moreover, the CHO said ample doses of HPV vaccines for 100 teenage moms have already been prepared and are ready to be used.
Present during the activity were Dr. Justin Clyde Gubatan, Medical Officer III, Head, Family Health DOH Region 1, Dr. Veronica De Guzman, Provincial DOH Officer-Pangasinan, CDRRMO Chief & Executive Assistant Sonny Domagas, Dr. Dennis Jose Delgado, Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist and other officials from Urdaneta Schools Division and LGU.