THE Oyo State Government has declared that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for girls has been in existence for decades and is not aimed at reducing the population of Africa, contrary to insinuations.

The Executive Secretary of the Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr Muideen Olatunji, speaking to the media in Ibadan at a press conference after the HPV vaccination campaign flag-off in Ibadan, said the primary purpose of the vaccine is disease prevention and there is no association between HPV vaccine and infertility.

According to him, “this vaccine has been in existence for over ten to 20 years. People have been receiving it. There is no consequence. The difference is just that people pay to get it. Elites pay as much as N80, 000 to get the vaccine for their daughters.

“It has been rolled out in 16 states in the first phase; Oyo State falls within those that are phase two states. And it was declared open by the wife of the deputy governor on behalf of the wife of the governor.

“And to further show our commitment, she brought her granddaughter to be vaccinated today and showed the world that if it was good and the government meant well for the health of our young girls.

“The Oyo government is now joining the rest of Nigeria to say it is free. This is a demonstration of our continued partnership and, indeed, our collective efforts to protect young girls from cervical cancer, the second deadliest cancer in women’s gender. It is enough to be a public health concern for any serious government to come in to intervene.”

Dr Olatunji declared that the state government has trained and retrained on the administration of the vaccine and has supervisors to regularly ensure safety measures are complied with in the administration of the vaccine across the state.

“The HPV vaccine is protective against cervical cancer. We are focusing on young girls between the ages of 9 and 14, since they have not been so sexually exposed that, in decades, we are sure that our community is protected from cervical cancer.

“We want to make sure no one is left out of this vaccination; for this reason, we must utilise the opportunity as critical stakeholders to significantly reduce the prevalence of HPV and cervical cancer.

“A man can actually contract the HPV; it is not only women. So, if we have protected the woman now and the woman does not have HPV in her system, even if a man eventually has sex with that woman, the man has been protected indirectly. By showing love to women, we are actually showing love to ourselves because eventually, we will reap the reward of our investment in them.”