The wife of Lagos State governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, says the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine does not encourage or promote promiscuity.
Sanwo-Olu said this on Monday during the inauguration of the HPV vaccines into Lagos State routine immunisation programme.
“HPV is a common sexually transmitted virus; an individual can get HPV by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus.
Almost all cervical cancer cases (99 per cent) are linked to infection with high-risk HPV.
According to Sanwo-Olu, HPV vaccine is a powerful tool in the prevention of cervical cancer, which affects many women globally.
Sanwo-Olu noted that misinformation and misleading narratives about the immunisation were promoted by some uninformed persons.
“Extensive research and rigorous testing have been conducted to ensure the safety and efficacy of this HPV vaccine with the approval of relevant regulatory bodies and reputable health organisations worldwide.
“Let us dispel the wrong notion surrounding the HPV vaccine and embrace the opportunity it presents to prevent HPV-related diseases.
“It is the duty of everybody to be vocal about the importance of this vaccination by ensuring that everyone within our sphere of influence partakes in this exercise,” she said.
Sanwo-Olu said that education and accurate information was key in empowering communities to make informed decisions about their health.
“Let us work towards a future where cervical cancer becomes a thing of the past,” she said.
She noted that the integration of the vaccine into routine immunisation schedules marks a significant milestone in ongoing efforts to prioritise the health and well-being of the people of the state.
Sanwo-Olu added that it was a testament to the state’s unwavering commitment to combating HPV-related diseases and protecting the future generations of Lagos citizens.
“I urge everyone here today to spread the importance of the HPV vaccine.
“Let us educate our friends, families, neighbours and everyone about the benefits of immunisation and encourage them to take advantage of this life-saving opportunity.
“We can create a healthier and brighter future for everyone in Lagos State,” she said.
Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that in Nigeria, cervical cancer is the third most common and the second most frequent cause of cancer deaths among women aged between 15 and 44 years.
WHO stated that Nigeria recorded 12,000 new cases and 8,000 deaths from cervical cancer in 2020.
It was reported that the Federal Government, on October 24, introduced the HPV vaccine into the routine immunisation system to prevent cervical cancer among girls aged from nine years to 14 years.
The vaccination targets 7.7 million girls, which is said to be the largest number in a single round of HPV vaccination in the African region.
The girls would receive a single dose of the vaccine, which is highly efficacious in preventing infection with HPV types 16 and 18 that are known to cause more than 70 per cent of cervical cancers.
Lagos State is among the 16 states in Nigeria marked for the Phase 1 introduction of HPV vaccine through Multi-Age Campaign style strategies targeting girls from age nine years to 4 years in schools and communities.