When the Ministry of Health (MoH) announced its plan to offer free vaccinations against cervical cancer for Secondary 1 school girls last Wednesday (6 March), it drew praise from the medical community.
The vaccinations would be given to Sec 2 to 5 as a one-off “catch-up” measure as well. Usually, these vaccinations cost around $300 in clinics can prevent Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, the most common cause of cervical cancer.
About 200 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed yearly from 2011 to 2015, and around 70 people die of the disease every year.
The problem is parents are reluctant in allowing their daughters to get the HPV vaccine because they worry that it’s going to make them have sex.
Yes, you read that right: Parents worry that the vaccine that will one day save their daughter’s life, will also turn her into a raging fertile Myrtle.
Some parents who spoke to Today about their reservations planned to outright deny consent for the vaccinations while others wanted more information.
Ms Sakunthala Jackson says she will not allow her 15-year-old daughters to get vaccinated because she has already educated her about sex.
Civil servant Vincent Ong who has two daughters, 7 and 10, wished the vaccinations were mandatory. He says because if he gave permission, it is as if he is giving the “green light” for his daughters to have sex earlier. So if the government asks them to have sex it’s fine, right?.
Other parents wished MoH would educate parents by releasing information regarding the vaccination including the side effects and how long they last. One called for the MoH to hold a Q&A session.
Doctors speak out
Detecting a potential public health crisis at bay, doctors are pulling out all the stops to convince parents that vaccinations won’t turn their kids into nymphomaniacs.
Dr Joseph Ng, president of the Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology of Singapore says:
Associate Professor Chong Chia Yin, senior consultant at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital says:
Professor Paul Tambyah, an infectious diseases specialist says:
You got it Doc.