Keep up fight against preventable diseases by vaccination amidst pandemic

gnlm opinion

Despite tackling challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Government has started the nationwide (Human Papillomavirus Vaccine-HPV) vaccination campaign yesterday.
It reflects that the Union Government is committed to keeping the country’s battle against cervical cancer under the nationwide Expanded Programme on Immunization which aims to prevent 12 diseases through vaccination.
The importance of continuing vaccination must not be forgotten in the COVID-19 pandemic because our girls and women can be immunized against the deadly disease with this vaccination.
At this time, it is crucial that all those involved in the national immunization project to fight against twelve diseases keep abreast of the changes affecting our work and be willing to quickly introduce alternative practices so we can continue to move forward.
To make the 2025 Expanded Programme on Immunization a success, we need to find out the possible challenges ahead and find ways to tackle them.
With these efforts, we can mitigate the impact this pandemic could have on our fight against cervical cancer and other preventable diseases through vaccination.
Under the HPV vaccination programme launched yesterday, over 450,000 girls aged between 8 and 10 years will be administered the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is the 13th vaccine on the immunization list.
The girls in townships which are under the Stay-At-Home order would receive the vaccination when the townships are removed from the order.
Besides, a school-based vaccination programme will launch nationwide when the schools reopen.
The cost of vaccinating a child against cervical cancer is about four dollars. Twenty per cent of the total funds required for the nationwide immunization programme will be paid by the Union government, while Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has donated 80 per cent of the funds. The government will have to fund the entire immunization programme after 2025.
Hence, it is important that the funds allocated for the programme are used effectively.
Meanwhile, the Union Government is keeping on watch the trial results of COVID-19 vaccine in the world, and so far, no country has yet finalized the phase-3 clinical trial.
It is worth noting that Gavi, the vaccine alliance, would provide the COVID-19 vaccine for 20 per cent of our population once the vaccine is approved by the World Health Organization, and the Union Government has made necessary arrangements to prepare for COVID-19 vaccinations.
We believe that the Ministry of Health and Sports and its health workers would leave no stone unturned to make the nationwide immunization programmes a success despite COVID-19 challenges.

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