Article by
Dani Reiter

Costa Rica Launches Extensive HPV Vaccination Campaign

Gardasil vaccine offered to 35,150 young women in Costa Rica

Cosra Rican dancers happy celebrating

The Central American country of Costa Rica has launched an extensive vaccination campaign to protect young women against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). 

This vaccination campaign announced on June 3, 2019, will cover a total of 35,150 women with 2 dosages of the HPV vaccine, reported the CostaRicaTimes

The 1st dose will be applied in schools and parents will be informed ahead of time.

The 2nd vaccine dose must be applied in the different local public health clinics (EBAIS) since schools may be on holiday.

“Today as parents we have the responsibility to protect our girls”, commented the Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Salas Peraza, in a press release. 

“The HPV vaccine is obligatory, and therefore, the state, along with the child welfare agency PANI and the Public Force, has the authority to act in the event that any parent, after receiving the necessary information, refuses to vaccinate their daughter”. 

HPV is the world's most prevalent sexually transmitted infection and is associated with life-threatening cancers including cancers of the cervix, anus, penis, vagina, vulva, mouth and throat, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Around 90 percent of cervical cancer cases are HPV-related.

HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. The HPV virus is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. 

Nearly 80 million Americans are currently infected with some type of HPV. About 14 million Americans, including teens, become infected each year, says the CDC.

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Previously, the Costa Rican Minister of Health spoke at a conference in February 2019, discussing the country’s ‘increased efforts to reduce cases of malaria and move towards elimination of this disease.’

This is being achieved through increased epidemiological surveillance, as well as through the development of rapid testing and treatment in hard to reach areas.

Costa Rica is located between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and borders Nicaragua and Panama in Central America.

Additionally, the CDC updated its health advice when visiting Costa Rica, on March 29, 2019.

The CDC says ‘although the risk of malaria is low in Costa Rica, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. Some travelers to certain areas who are at higher risk for complications from malaria, such as pregnant women, may need to take extra precautions, like anti-malarial medicine.

The areas of Costa Rica with a risk of malaria are as follows: Matina Canton in Limón Province, Sarapiquí Canton in Heredia Province, and Pital District in San Carlos Canton in Alajuela Province.

Finally, the CDC says to ensure you are up-to-date on several Routine Vaccines and suggests these travel vaccinations: Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

Travel vaccination services, related medications, and pre-trip counseling appointments can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel. 

Previously, the Canadian government issued an ‘Exercise a High-Degree of Caution’ advisory for Costa Rica. 

This Level 2 Advisory issued on May 13, 2019, says ‘violent crime against foreigners, though not frequent, is a concern. And, incidents of sexual assault against foreigners at beach resorts and by taxi drivers in San José have been reported.’