Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to provide protection from the virus that causes cervical cancer is mandatory and will be funded by the state, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated.

"The HPV vaccination will be free of charge, financed by the state," Sadikin confirmed through a voice recording received here Wednesday.

The minister later noted that the cervical cancer vaccination program applies to target communities that are at risk through the stagewise implementation of vaccination starting this year.

The HPV vaccination program is included in the ranks of mandatory vaccinations in Indonesia, such as COVID-19 and complete basic immunization, the minister stated.

"We want this HPV vaccination (to be administered) as a precautionary measure to avoid cervical cancer. The illness will cost us higher than the prevention measure, akin to COVID-19," he emphasized.

Through the cervical cancer prevention program, Sadikin is sanguine that the government would be able to cut governmental spending on medical expenses for patients in hospitals.

"With prevention steps, such as wearing masks and taking vitamins, it will be so much cheaper than the treatment budget. Vaccination is meant to prevent and not to heal sick people," he emphasized.

Related news: HPV vaccination targets female students in grades 5, 6: Ministry

Acting Director of Immunization Management at the Ministry of Health, Prima Yosephine, remarked that the initial stage of HPV vaccination, with two doses each, targets female students in grades 5 and 6 of elementary schools.

The vaccination is held in conjunction with the School Children's Immunization Month (BIAS) Program that is routinely conducted in August and November annually by the ministry.

Yosephine noted that HPV vaccination had started in two provinces and five districts and cities in Indonesia since 2021 and was expanded to three provinces and five districts and cities this year. The ministry plans to hold cervical cancer vaccination nationally during the 2023-2024 period.

Related news: Cervical cancer deaths can be prevented with HPV vaccine: minister

Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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