FOLLOWING the launch of the administration of HPV vaccine in Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organisation, and other partners, the government has harped on the potential life-saving impact the HPV vaccines on the future of young girls by protecting them from Cervical Cancer.
However, Ahmed Isah, the host of Brekete Family, popularly called ‘Ordinary President’ in a live broadcast expressed concern about the safety of the vaccine.
Ahmed Isah who is the founder of the Human Rights Radio, had first program aired on Kiss FM Abuja in 2009, and then later on Crowther Love FM. He has since then grown unparalleled with huge fanbase by using the instrumentality of the media to defend human right abuses in the country
During the live programme, Ahmed recalled the unfortunate Pfizer incidence in Kano over two decades ago and thus expressed skepticism that without the right validation, the HPV vaccine may be equally harmful. He therefore urged parents not to consent or allow their daughters to participate in the exercise.
“Say make una sign, they wan give cervical cancer vaccine to una daughters, make una no agree, America neva get cure for cancer, China never get, UK neva get, make una no forget wetin happen…” he said in pidgin English.
The host of the radio programme also challenged the Health Minister to subject his daughters for the vaccination.
Ordinary President’s claim was shared across various social media platforms with captions such as, “dangerous vaccine is in town please let be careful, please forward it to save life,” “the real truth behind cervical cancer vaccine,” “this is my stand on cervical cancer vaccine” etc.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of related viruses that can infect various parts of the human body. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) worldwide. There are over 200 known types of HPV, and they can be categorized into low-risk and high-risk types based on their association with various health conditions.
Most people who get infected with HPV do not have any symptoms and clear the infection on their own. However, some people may develop warts on different parts of the body, such as the genitals, hands, feet, or face. These warts are usually harmless, but they can be painful or unsightly.
Some types of HPV can also cause changes in the cells of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, or throat. These changes can sometimes lead to cancer if they are not detected and treated early. HPV is responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer and most cases of anal, penile, vaginal, vulvar, and oropharyngeal cancers.
In order to verify the authenticity of the claims by Ahmed, PRNigeria fact-check team ran a background check on the video, which originally came from Brekete Family radio station.
PRNigeria fact-checkers then used toggled keyword searches to cross check claims about advance global economies not having a vaccine or cure for cervical cancer.
Investigative results took us to a report by global cancer burden studies which revealed that China has the second highest incidence and mortality rate of cervical cancer worldwide, with around 110,000 new cases and 59,000 deaths. Cervix cancer remains a major public health issue in China. Furthermore, over the past few decades, a growing number of studies show that certain head and neck cancers (HNCs), mainly oropharyngeal cancers, are associated with HR-HPVs, especially type 16.9. Sabatini and Chiocca indicate that there has been a 37% increase in HNCs incidence globally over the past decade.
Heralded as a huge step forward, further investigation revealed that the first domestically manufactured HPV vaccine (Cecolin™) was approved in China in December 2019 and prequalified by WHO in October 2021. Hereafter, China has become the third country capable of producing HPV vaccines worldwide.
Also in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) which is a comprehensive public-health service under government administration, established by the National Health Service Act of 1946 and subsequent legislation showed that the HPV vaccine is recommended for children aged 12 to 13 years old and people at higher risk from HPV. All children aged 12 to 13 (school year 8) are offered the HPV vaccine. If girls missed getting vaccinated when they were 12 or 13, the HPV vaccine is available for free on the NHS for all girls under 25.
Similarly, in the US, cervical cancer vaccine is a regular exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the HPV vaccine is recommended for routine vaccination at age 11 or 12 years, but it can be given starting at age 9 years. All preteens need HPV vaccination, so they are protected from HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life.
In addition, further investigation revealed the significance of administering the HPV vaccine during the infant stage. According to Saudi Gazette report in RIYADH, Saudi Arabia‘ Ministry of Health reiterated the importance of giving the girls the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at an early age.
In a statement, the MoH said that “it is important for families to ensure that their daughters receive the HPV vaccine at an early age to contribute to protecting them from cervical cancer.
The vaccinations that girls will be receiving at an early age contribute to raising their immunity, as well as increasing protection against HPV”, MoH confirmed.
Girls from 9-14 years old are given two doses of the HPV vaccination before they are exposed to the virus, and three doses for the age group of 15 years and over.
Further findings revealed that the World Health Organization (WHO) on 24 October 2023 announced the introduction of the HPV vaccine in Nigeria. According to the report, “7.7 million girls, the largest number in a single round of HPV vaccination in the African region – in a vaccination drive against the virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer”. Also in the report, “The loss of about 8000 Nigerian women yearly from a disease that is preventable is completely unacceptable,” says Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health & Social Welfare.”
Other findings on HPV vaccine revealed the United Nations (UN) report on the effectiveness of HPV vaccine, especially in Nigeria and Africa at large.
It is noteworthy that many people have expressed concern over the safety of the HPV vaccine, especially as it relates to pregnancy and fertility. However, investigation revealed that HPV is a common virus that can cause infections in the genital and oral areas. Some types of HPV can also cause cancers, such as cervical cancer in women. HPV can affect fertility in both men and women, but it does not necessarily prevent pregnancy.
Also, when left untreated, many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can lead to infertility. However, HPV shouldn’t affect ability to conceive. Although there are concerns that HPV can lead to fertility problems, that’s generally not the case. Some strains of HPV can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
Meanwhile, Dr Uche Nwokwu, the acting Director, Clinical Services, National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT), discredited the claims that HPV could have a potential harmful effects on the people. He dismissed such claims in a media interview.
PRNigeria fact-check observed that the HPV vaccine is not only in Nigeria It is available in many countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, and most of Europe. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective at preventing HPV-related infections and cancers.
HPV Vaccines, like any other medicine, can have side effects. Many people who get the HPV vaccine have not complained of serious side effects. The most common side effects are usually mild, like a sore arm from the shot. No serious adverse reactions have been identified and the World Health Organization considers HPV vaccines to be extremely Safe
More finding reveal that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, said his four daughters have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus.
Conclusion: Findings by PRNigeria reveal that the HPV vaccine is not being piloted in Nigeria as claimed but is developed and actively in use by other countries of the world including China, UK, US and Saudi Arabia among others. Concerns about its safety and efficacy have also been addressed by medical experts, academic journals and the World Health Organisation.
PRNigeria therefore concludes that the claim by the host of Berekete family radio programme that the HPV vaccine is harmful and targeted at depopulation lacks evidence and is Misleading.
November 3, 2023 @ 6:21 GMT|