Jamaica Information / Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right), converses with Acting Principal of the Ocho Rios High School, Leo DaCosta, during a visit to the St. Ann-based institution on October 6 to observe the administering of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to grade-seven girls. + – Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right), converses with Acting Principal of the Ocho Rios High School, Leo DaCosta, during a visit to the St. Ann-based institution on October 6 to observe the administering of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to grade-seven girls. Story Highlights Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is doing the right thing by administering the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to girls. He said that cervical cancer represents a clear and present danger and has to be tackled. “We are responding to something we know can cause major mayhem to victims and their families, and, frankly speaking, the world is responding the way we have responded. We have an obligation to do something and not to sit back and do nothing,” he noted further.
Tweet Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is doing the right thing by administering the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to girls.
He said that cervical cancer represents a clear and present danger and has to be tackled.
“It is the second leading cause of cancer in the country and is expected to increase if we don’t do something about it,” he argued.
“We are responding to something we know can cause major mayhem to victims and their families, and, frankly speaking, the world is responding the way we have responded. We have an obligation to do something and not to sit back and do nothing,” he noted further.
Dr. Tufton was speaking to reporters at the Ocho Rios High School in St. Ann on October 6 where the vaccine was being administered.
He said that while the cost of the vaccine is not inexpensive “the Government felt it had an obligation in getting it done”.
“We are pretty confident that we are doing the right thing… . We would not be pursuing a policy and spending so much of the taxpayers’ money if we didn’t believe it was worthwhile and good for the country,” he noted.
“Actually, we should have been doing this a long time ago,” he added.
Dr. Tufton noted that there is broad consensus throughout the country as it relates to administering the vaccine.
“We have seen support from Opposition, Government, Medical Association, and Paediatric Association… all have come out in support. Where there has been criticism is around the communication, which we have improved to date and will continue to improve until we can get the message out,” he said.
Dr. Tufton noted also that the HPV vaccine has been endorsed by a number of reputable organisations worldwide.
For his part, Acting Principal of Ocho Rios High, Leo DaCosta, said he has not seen or heard anything to suggest that parents are not being supportive.
“Parents were given the opportunity to respond by giving permission for their children to take the vaccine, and they have not resisted,” he said.
“Based on what is happening here, there is every reason to believe that they are comfortable with the information they have received. Health is very important, and it is something we all have to support in the interest of our nation,” Mr. DaCosta added.
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