Kampala, Uganda — The Health Ministry may not meet its target of vaccinating all girls of ten of age against the Human Papilloma Virus-HPV following a global shortage of the vaccine.
The Human Papilloma Virus is a cancer causing virus, which is transmitted by men and can only be stopped by vaccination. The virus causes cervical cancer.
Uganda plans to vaccinate an estimated 700,000 children this year. However, the Health Ministry is worried that it may not meet the target due to the global HPV vaccine shortage.
Dr. Alfred Driwale, the program manager Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization, attributes the shortage to increased demand for vaccine globally
Dr. Driwale says with the expected shortage, they might not be able to meet their target.
"We started with coverage of about 35 percent for the second dose in 2015.In year two it went to about 50 and 75 in year three. The pressure is too much and with the global shortages, we do not think we shall be able to meet our target of 90 percent," he said.
Dr. Driwale says the vaccine shortage will be felt at the district level mostly. He says districts with high uptake like those in North Uganda will be most affected.
According to Dr. Driwale, once the global shortage comes to an end, those who would have missed vaccination will receive the required doses.
Failure for one to complete the HPV vaccine dose exposes one to cervical cancer. Each child receives two doses spread over six month's period.
HPV vaccine is administered to girls that are ten years old. Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in Uganda according to the Uganda Cancer Institute.
Data from the Health Ministry shows that the uptake of the first dose is stands at 100 percent while that of the second dose stands at 75 percent.