Kisumu — Kisumu County has projected to reach 35,000 girls aged 10 years in the ongoing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) immunization in the next one year.
The vaccine is seen as critical to the fight against cervical cancer which is linked to at least 3,000 deaths annually in Kenya.
The county's Director of Health Dr Dickens Onyango said during the launch of the vaccine's rollout in the lakeside city on Friday the jab will be given in two doses and will continue along the routine immunization schedule.
He also noted that the vaccine will be offered alongside other routine infant vaccines.
"Today we have just given nine girls and we have just kicked ff the process looking for all the other girls and every year we will be targeting a similar number," he said.
He announced that the roll out to 7 sub-counties in the county is on course following successful preparations that included training of health care providers.
"Micro-planning has been done in partnership with the ministry of education and we as a county are now ready to give this vaccine," Dr Onyango said.
He noted that the vaccine has been delivered to all immunization clinics - both public and private health facilities.
To capture more girls, the county health department plans to visit schools during school days to ensure more girls are immunized.
He noted that cervical cancer is among the leading causes of cancer deaths among women in the country and interventions being put in place will reverse the trend.
Dr Onyango assured parents and the young girls that the vaccine has gone under research and proved to be a silver bullet towards preventing cervical cancer.
"Numerous studies have confirmed that persistent infection with high risk HPV type 16 and 18 is necessary for the development and progression of precancerous lessons to cervical cancer," he said.
The vaccine launched by President Kenyatta on October 18 will see some 800,000 girls aged 10 inoculated nationwide, the Ministry of Health has indicated.