By line: Icyizere Pascaline

Hello, our beloved Ni Nyampingas! The time is coming for all 12-year-old girls in Rwanda to get the cervical cancer vaccine. You’ve sent us messages to 1019 with curiosities and concerns about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. This encouraged me to do some research for you my young sisters on the important things you need to know about the HPV vaccine. Read and share with your friends!

Do you have questions about the HPV vaccine but don’t know where to get the right information? Here are some details about the virus and the vaccine so that you can be well informed when it’s time to get vaccinated.

  • • If left unchecked, the human papillomavirus can develop into cervical cancer as a young woman grows up. That’s why it’s important for you to get vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer.
  • • Cervical cancer is the second most deadly form of cancer for women aged between 15 and 44 in Rwanda.
  • • All 12-year-old girls in Rwanda receive the vaccine at school. Those who miss being vaccinated at school or are not currently in school can go to their nearest health centre or approach a community health worker for information on how to get vaccinated.
  • • The HPV vaccine is injected in the arm and is given in two doses. If you are given the first dose today, the second dose will be given six months later. You need the vaccine twice for it to function as designed and protect you.
  • • Ask your parents, teachers or community health worker to remind you when the time comes to have the second dose. Try not to be afraid of the injection because the pain doesn’t last long.
  • • This HPV vaccine is used all over the world and has no side effects. It simply protects you from the human papillomavirus and cervical cancer. It does not stop you from having your own children when the time is right for you.
  • • If you know a girl in your community who has not yet been vaccinated, encourage her to receive it as required. If you are older than 12, help your younger sisters or any other girls you know by informing them about the vaccine. You can ensure they benefit from the vaccine. Feel free to even go with a friend to get vaccinated.
  • • Speak to your parents or caregivers about the vaccine. If they need more information about it, tell them to talk to the teacher in charge at your school or the health worker from your community.

As an informed young girl, don’t miss the chance to get the vaccine and live free from cervical cancer.

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