Antara, Jakarta – Indonesia is rolling out Human Papillomavirus or HPV vaccines to be administered to all children aged 11 to 12. The Health Ministry stated that children who are not in school are also included in the government's target.
"The government's duty is to ensure that all Indonesian girls get the HPV vaccine. This means that girls aged 11-12 years who do not go to school are still included in the government's target," the ministry's director of immunization management Prima Yosephine, said in a press conference for 'Cervical Cancer Awareness Month' in Jakarta, Tuesday, 31 January.
Prima stated that the government had taken concrete steps by implementing the HPV vaccination program as one of 14 complete basic immunizations for schoolgirls in grades 5 and 6. The government is targeting the HPV vaccine to be given in two doses, free of charge.
The HPV vaccine rollout is not only for school children. Children who don't go to school can get the vaccines at posyandu, puskesmas, or orphanages, children shelters, and others, Prima said.
HPV vaccination is aimed at maximizing the development of antibodies of children during their golden years of growth in order to prevent cervical cancer, which is the second highest cause of death among Indonesian women after breast cancer.
Prima said that people outside the targeted age group can also access the HPV vaccine in health facilities. "The target for the government-borne HPV vaccine is at the age of 11-12 years. Specifically for people outside this group, they can pay for the HPV vaccine independently," he said.
Rejection and black campaign
Prima admitted that there are still a number of challenges such as rejection, from both the school and parents. There are also parties that continue to run black campaigns about HPV vaccination.
"Regarding the negative rumors, we need to immediately clarify them so that they do not interfere with the implementation of the HPV BIAS and its minimum coverage of 95 percent can be achieved," he said.