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Provincial

Bulacan Expands Cervical Cancer Vaccination to Immunize 21,000 Young Females

Bulacan Cervical Cancer Vaccination
Governor Daniel Ramirez Fernando during ceremonial HPV vaccination.

120 female learners ages 9 to 14 from public schools in Plaridel, Pulilan, and Bulakan successfully received the HPV vaccine as part of the local government’s efforts to guard the youth against cervical cancer.

Another significant development during the day was the official launch of the community-based availability of the HPV vaccine, the “Bulacan Strengthening HPV Immunization towards Elimination and Leadership Development (SHIELD) Against Cervical Cancer” program. This vaccination expansion, aptly launched during World Immunization Week, is crucial in the province’s mission to prevent cervical cancer through early immunization. The initiative, originally school-based, now extends its reach to the entire community to enhance immunization coverage and safeguard public health.

Vice Governor Alexis Castro has announced plans for officially offering the HPV vaccines to the entire province of Bulacan. “Lahat po ng mga babeng mag-aaral ng public school na nasa edad 9 hanggang 14 na taong gulang ay maaari nang makatanggap ng HPV Vaccine.” (All female public school students aged 9 to 14 in Bulacan will have the chance to get vaccinated against HPV.)

Alexis Castro
Vice Governor Alexis Castro officially launches Bulacan’s community-wide HPV vaccination program.

Protecting children and young women against cervical cancer

The “Sa Aking Paglaki, Walang HPV” school-based vaccination program aligns with the community vaccination effort. The local government of Bulacan, provincial representatives from the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Education (DepEd), along with healthcare company MSD in the Philippines, promoted access and administration of the vaccine to Grade 4 female students. Its latest run vaccinated students from Pulilan, Plaridel, and Bulakan, and will continue to vaccinate more schoolchildren until the targets within the province have been reached.

To further expand the impact of this immunization effort, the HPV vaccines allotted for Bulacan have been dispersed in various health centers within the province to encourage more young women to get vaccinated against HPV.

“Simula Abril, nagstart na tayo magbakuna (We have started vaccinations since April),” Dr. Sheila Mae Yu-Geronimo, Development Management Officer IV for Provincial DOH office in Bulacan shared. “Ang launch natin ngayon ay hudyat ng patuloy na sunud-sunod na pagbabakuna hanggang macover natin ang 100% completion ng mga kabataang kababaihan (The launch today is the mark of our continuous vaccination efforts until we cover 100% completion for our young women).”

Vice Governor Castro reiterates the importance of prevention through vaccination. “Ang HPV vaccine po ay napakahalaga para sa atin para ma-prevent natin ‘yung mas malalang magiging sakit… Ang problema kasi, kung kelan meron nang sakit doon pa lang tayo kelangan gumalaw. Pero mas mapapaliit natin yung bilang ng magkakasakit kung mas focused tayo sa prevention (The HPV vaccine is crucial for us to prevent serious illnesses… The problem is, when we are already sick is the time we seek medical assistance. But, we can reduce the number of patients if we’re more focused on prevention),” he mentioned.

Atty. Nikki Manuel Coronel, Chief of Staff of the Governor, also mentioned Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando’s support for early vaccination. “Si Governor ay naniniwala na mahalaga ang bakuna para maiwasan ang iba’t ibang uri ng sakit katulad ng cervical cancer. At hinihikayat natin ang lahat ng mga magulang na makiisa sa ating mga palatuntunan, sa ating mga programa para matiyak ang kalusugan ng ating mga anak at tuluyan nating mawaksi ang panganib ng cervical cancer at iba’t ibang uri ng sakit sa ating lipunan (The Governor believes in the importance of vaccines to prevent various diseases, such as cervical cancer. We encourage all parents to join our program to ascertain the health of the children and to completely eliminate the dangers of cervical cancer and other diseases in our community),” he stated.

A collective solution

Bulacan Cervical Cancer Vaccination
Representatives who pledged their commitment during the Kalasag Ceremony (Included in the photo are Dr. Shiela Mae Yu-Geronimo, Development Management Officer IV, Provincial Department of Health, Dr. Ma. Loerna Cardenas, DepEd Representative, Principal – Plaridel Central School, Ms. Rose Jumaquio, DILG Representative, Dr. Liza Beata Cruz, Pediatrician, Fellow, Philippine Pediatric Society)

Providing HPV immunization to all young women in Bulacan is possible through everyone’s collective effort. Hence, during the event, local government representatives, doctors, teachers, and parents pledged their support and commitment to this endeavor.

DepEd representative and Principal of Plaridel Central School, Dr. Ma. Lorena Cardenas showed her support for the program and DepEd’s role in the initiative. “We are indeed eager to support the HPV vaccine where our learners from Grade 4 will benefit. This program is good enough to help our learners and as school partners, you can accommodate our learners and our support will be in expanding the literacy among our parents, our learners, and our community school stakeholders.”

Parents also expressed their opinions on the vaccination program. “Isa po itong epektibong pamamaraan upang maiwasan ang cervical cancer na pangalawang sanhi ng pagkamatay ng mga kababaihan (This is one effective way of preventing cervical cancer that is the second cause of death among women),” Remelyn, mother of two children being vaccinated on that day, shared. She also shared her appreciation for the program. “Salamat po sa government ng Bulacan, kay Governor at sa lahat ng pamunuan. Malaking tulong po ito sa aming lahat bilang mga magulang (Thank you to the government of Bulacan, to Governor, and to all officers. This is of great help to all of us as parents).”

While preventable, cervical cancer ranks as the second most killing cancer among females, with 12 Filipinas dying every day. By making immunization accessible to the community, local government and health departments can push for more young women to be vaccinated early on.

“Sa lahat ng mga magulang na makapupunta rito, magpabakuna tayo ng HPV vaccine dahil napakimportante nito at makakatulong ito sa atin (For all parents who can attend, let us get the HPV vaccine because it is important and it can help us),” Vice Governor Carlos mentioned.

The school-based immunization program aims to vaccinate 21,000 female students ages 9 to 14 within the Province of Bulacan. Currently, almost half of the target has been achieved and 10,000 vaccines have been deployed across LGUs in Bulacan to administer in their health center units.

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