The Belize Ministry of Health hosted a press conference to speak on the inclusion of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine into the National Vaccine Schedule under the National Vaccine Program of the country. The presentation panel was headed by the Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero accompanied by Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer, Technical Advisor, Maternal and Child Health Unit.
Dr. Manzanero spoke of the consultations that the Ministry has undertaken and the support it has garnered from the partners in this discussion including the Churches, the Ministry of Education, related NGO agencies, parents and the community. He mentioned that the administering of the vaccine will commenced by the end of this month to girls age 10 in standard 4 school settings.
They will be required to have a signed consent form from the parent indicating either a yes or no before getting the vaccine. Two doses of the vaccine will be given, one followed by another six month thereafter. Although Belize has the vaccine in the private sector, it is now being introduced into the public system through financial support from the Social Security Board. This year the Ministry of Health was able to procure the vaccines for this first instance so that approximately 4,421 girl will be able to get it.
Dr. Carol Babb expressed support on behalf of the Ministry of Education as well support came from Pastor Howell Longsworth, President of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches.
Cervical Cancer is directly linked to HPV. There are over 150 types of the virus but the vaccine will contain HPV type 16, 18, 6 and 11.