Monday, February 14, 2011

Peru: free HPV vaccines for girls

by Laura Huaman 
The Peruvian governments started “La Campaña de Vacunación Gratuita contra el Cáncer del Cuello Uterino,” a vaccination campaign against cervical cancer, at the beginning of last week. The goal is to vaccinate 287 thousand ten-year old girls by the end of this year. Every day, six women die of cervical cancer in Peru.

Peru is the first country in South America to implement a free vaccination campaign against cervical cancer. The objective is to immunize girls who have not yet had sexual relations and thus not been exposed to the virus.

This campaign is financed through the Pan American Health Organization, costing the Peruvian government 48 soles (about 16 American dollars) per vaccine. Specific health centers in a few provinces outside of Lima started giving free vaccinations to girls between 10-12 years of age in December of last year.

Fifteen hospitals and 270 health care centers in Lima and Callao started to offer free HPV vaccines to ten year old girls this month. In the next couple of weeks, the vaccination campaign will be extended to the rest of the country. The HPV vaccine has also now been included as part of children’s immunization schedules.

The only requirement to get a free shot is having the child’s Identification Card (Documento Nacional de Identidad, DNI) or a birth certificate.


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