HPV vaccine for women in UAE: Who is eligible for free jab, where to get it

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally



by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Mon 7 Feb 2022, 5:20 PM

Last updated: Mon 7 Feb 2022, 10:45 PM

Health officials in Abu Dhabi are urging women to take the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, especially prior to marriage, to prevent the risk of cervical cancer.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with an estimated 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths in 2020.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the lower part of the uterus (cervix). It starts as a precancerous condition called dysplasia.

This precancerous condition can be detected by a pap smear and is 100 per cent treatable. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus. HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual intercourse.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

In the early stages, cervical cancer is silent and has no symptoms. That is why it is important to have regular check-ups for cervical screening.

In the advance stages, cervical cancer has the following warning signs: persistent pelvic pain unrelated to other conditions, continuous vaginal discharge and abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Who is at risk of cervical cancer?

All women are exposed to the risk of developing cervical cancer. Over 70 per cent of sexually active women will get HPV in their lifetime

Can cervical cancer be prevented?

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) says cervical cancer can be prevented and treated with high efficiency, and the most important tool is vaccination. It is recommended that women take HPV vaccines, especially prior to their marriage, to prevent the risk of cervical cancer.

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

All women between the ages of 13 and 26.

How many doses of the vaccine should one get?

The vaccine can be given once, in three doses over six months or two doses over 12 months, depending on the type of vaccine. In case there is an interruption in the schedule, please refer back to your healthcare provider to resume vaccination and complete the three doses.

How much does the vaccine cost?

The vaccine is free of charge for female students between the ages of 13 and 26 and for Daman or Thiqa insured patients between the ages of 18 and 26.

Why is it important to have a regular pap smear?

Cervical cancer is detected by a pap test, which can detect cancer in early stages or in the pre-cancer phase. It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75 per cent of cervical cancers from developing.

Can women take the vaccine if they are already married?

It is recommended that the HPV vaccine is taken a few years before marriage.

Where can women get the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is offered at all Seha centres across Abu Dhabi. Her are some of cervical cancer screening facilities:

- Seha

- Mubadala Health Care

- VPS Healthcare

- NMC Healthcare

- Mediclinic International

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