Health Metro

HPV Vaccines: Lagos administers 40% of targeted girls, battles misinformation

The Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (LSPHCB) revealed that it has provided Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to 40% of targeted girls in Lagos.

Dr Ibrahim Mustafa, the Permanent Secretary of LSPHCB, disclosed the vaccination initiative to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted virus known for causing most cervical cancers and other HPV-associated cancers, predominantly HPV types 16 or 18.

Introduced by the Federal Government on October 24, 2023, the HPV vaccine aims to prevent cervical cancer among girls aged nine to 14 years.


This initiative targets 7.7 million girls, marking the largest HPV vaccination round in the African region, with recipients receiving a single dose of the vaccine. It’s highly effective against HPV types 16 and 18, responsible for at least 70% of cervical cancers.

Lagos is one of the 16 states in Nigeria included in Phase 1 for the introduction of the HPV vaccine, employing multi-age campaign strategies targeting girls aged nine to 14 years in schools and communities.

The state integrated HPV vaccines into its routine immunisation programme on October 30. However, Mustafa highlighted challenges in the programme’s uptake due to misinformation that spurred vaccine hesitancy and apathy.

He expressed concern over the low coverage, stating, “Initially, there were serious challenges with the programme to the extent that they almost beat some of the vaccine implementers.”


Misinformation, such as a viral WhatsApp message claiming the vaccine would sterilise or harm the girls, caused significant setbacks. Mustafa stressed the harm caused by this misinformation, impacting other immunisation campaigns.

To address this, the board launched a comprehensive media campaign, intensified advocacy, and countered vaccine-related misinformation.

Mustafa shared plans to integrate the HPV vaccine into the state’s National Immunisation Plus Day (NIPD) programme, scheduled to begin on November 25 in Lagos. The HPV vaccine will remain available at primary health centres until the end of 2024.

He reiterated that the vaccine is free and offers significant protection against HPV, the virus linked to cervical cancer.


Cervical cancer ranks third in Nigeria as per World Health Organisation (WHO) data, causing significant mortality among women aged 15 to 44, with 12,000 new cases and 8,000 deaths reported in 2020.

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