Jamaica’s Ministry of Health has plans to significantly increase the take-up of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine following earlier resistance from some parents when the vaccination programme was initiated by the Ministry last October.
The HPV vaccine was administered over a ten-week period at 150 schools with 22,338 girls targeted.
A report from the Health Ministry revealed that 6,172 or less than 30 per cent of the girls, received the vaccine.
According to the Ministry's report, the low take-up of the vaccine was due to the public education programme about the benefits of the vaccine being overshadowed by negative media publicity.
The HPV vaccine programme targets girls aged 11 and 12 who are entering high school.
The vaccine will provide 90 to 100 per cent protection against cancer of the cervix.
Cervical cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the world and the fourth most common in Jamaica.
It is also the country's second most common cancer among the female population after breast cancer.
Cervical cancer accounts for 15 per cent of all female cancer deaths in Jamaica.
The Human Papillomavirus infects cells and transforms normal cells on the cervix to cancer.