Jamaica’s women let down by failure of cervical cancer vaccine drive

Covid pressures and ingrained public mistrust mean less than 3% of girls are inoculated, and death rate is among world’s highest

Plans to prevent one of the deadliest cancers for women in Jamaica have been significantly set back by the Covid pandemic, new figures reveal.

The scheme to vaccinate schoolgirls against cervical cancer in Jamaica – which is the cancer with the second highest death rate in the Americas – began in 2018, but the Pan American Health Organization says inoculation rates fell to just 2.71% in 2021. This represents a drastic drop from the 2019 rate of 32%, and far from the WHO target of 90% by 2030.

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