More than 340,000 women died from cervical cancer in 2020. It is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide.
One dose of the HPV vaccine, which causes uterine cancer, provides protection similar to two doses for people under 21, the WHO Vaccination Policy Expert Committee said on Monday (April 11).
Cervical cancer is almost always caused by a sexually transmitted infection with the papillomavirus. Vaccines have been available since the mid-2000s. In view of the latest data, the expert panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) now considers a single dose to be sufficient to protect 9- to 14-year-olds and also 15- to 20-year-olds instead of the previous two.
These new recommendations aim to enable more girls and women to get vaccinated,”while maintaining the required level of protection‘ said the chairman of the committee, Dr. Alejandro Cravioto, at a press conference. However, national immunization programs can continue to use two doses if they deem it necessary, he said. In addition, WHO experts continue to recommend two doses six months apart for women over the age of 21. “For immunocompromised people, mainly people with HIV, we recommend giving them at least two or even three doses so that they are fully immunized.‘ emphasized Dr. Alejandro Cravioto.
Low vaccination coverage worldwide
More than 340,000 women died from cervical cancer in 2020. It is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. “About every two minutes, a woman dies from this disease.” Said the chairman of the WHO committee. About 90% of new cases and deaths worldwide in 2020 occurred in low- and middle-income countries. “I firmly believe that eliminating cervical cancer is possible“, emphasized Dr. Princess Nothemba Simelela, WHO Deputy Director-General, in a press release. “This single-dose recommendation has the potential to accelerate our goal of immunizing 90% of girls by age 15 by 2030.‘ she guessed. In 2020, global coverage with a 2-dose schedule was only 13%.
According to the WHO, several factors have contributed to the vaccine’s slow introduction and low immunization coverage in some countries, including supply difficulties, the relatively high cost of the vaccine, and the difficulty in giving two doses to adolescent girls who are not normally involved in childhood immunization programs be included. “The single-dose vaccine option is less expensive, less resource-intensive, and easier to administersummed up Dr. Princess Nothemba Simelela.
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