More than 340,000 women died of cervical cancer in 2020. It is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide.
One dose of the vaccine against HPV, which causes uterine cancer, provides similar protection to two doses for those under 21, the WHO’s expert committee on vaccine policy said on Monday (April 11).
Cervical cancers are almost always caused by a sexually transmitted infection with the papilloma virus. Since the mid-2000s, vaccines have been available against it. In light of the latest data, the expert committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) now considers that a single dose is sufficient to protect children between 9 and 14 years of age and also those between 15 and 20 years of age, instead of the two recommended above.
These new recommendations should allow more girls and women to get vaccinated.”maintaining the necessary level of protection“, indicated the president 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 21 years of age. “As for immunosuppressed people, mainly people with HIV, we recommend giving them at least two or even three doses, so that they are fully immunized.“, Dr. Alejandro Cravioto stressed.
Low vaccination coverage worldwide
More than 340,000 women died of cervical cancer in 2020. It is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. “A woman dies approximately every two minutes 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.“, underlined in a press release Dr. Princess Nothemba Simelela, deputy director general of the WHO. “This single-dose recommendation has the potential to move faster toward our goal of having 90% of 15-year-old girls vaccinated by 2030.“, estimated. In 2020, global coverage with a 2-dose vaccination schedule was only 13%.
According to the WHO, several factors have played a role in the slow introduction of the vaccine and low vaccination coverage in some countries, including supply difficulties, the relatively high cost of the vaccine, as well as the difficulties associated with administering two doses. to teenagers. girls who are not usually included in childhood immunization programmes. “The single-dose vaccine option is less expensive, requires fewer resources, and is easier to administerSaid Rre Princess Nothemba Simelela.
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