By Kemi Olatunde
Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (OSPHCDA), Dr. Francis Akanbiemu has assured of the safety of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine which will soon be available in the State.
To this end, he called on residents to disregard the rumour being spread mostly on social media about its possibility of causing harm to girls.
Akanbiemu who gave the assurance at a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure, described initiators of the rumour as agents of darkness.
He noted that the Federal Government will always ensure the safety of vaccines before administering them on the people.
While stressing the importance of vaccination, he stated that in Nigeria and Ondo State in particular, it has been a vital tool in morbidity reduction from preventable diseases saying “the rate of survival of under five children has increased, and this is attributed to massive vaccination uptake in the state.”
Speaking extensively on it, he said; “The rumour doesn’t exist. Children that are well vaccinated are healthy. Before the advent of vaccination, a lot of children came down with diseases such as measles, paralysis etc, but it has reduced drastically due to effective immunisation.”
Akanbiemu reminded residents of similar rumour during the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that no one has died due to COVID-19 vaccination.
“In 2021 at the centre of COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people died in other countries but Nigeria embarked on immunisation even amidst rumour of reduction of life span. People have lived over two years of being vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines and are still standing strong, hence the vaccination has been helpful.”
The Permanent Secretary who hinted that alot of people come up with rumour to make people lose trust in interventions that could be beneficial to others, stated that HPV vaccine is safe as it is to prevent cervical cancer which has negative effects on the society.
While noting that death rate from cervical cancer is high, he called on residents to present their female children between the ages of nine and 14 for vaccination when it commences in the first quarter of year 2024 in Ondo State.
It would be recalled that there has been circulating negative messages about the HPV vaccine on social media to prevent eligible beneficiaries to take part in the exercise on commencement.