A sufficient dose of vaccine for those under 21 years of age, according to the WHO

One dose of vaccine papilloma virusresponsible of uterine cancerprovides protection similar to two doses for those under 21 years of age, the expert committee of the WHO in vaccination policy.

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.

One dose instead of two

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 a greater number of girls and women to be vaccinated, “maintaining the necessary level of protection,” said the committee’s president, Dr. Alejandro Cravioto, at a press conference. However, national immunization programs can continue to use two doses if they deem it necessary, he said.

Two doses six months apart for women age 21 and older

In addition, WHO experts continue to recommend two doses six months apart for women over 21 years of age. “As for immunocompromised people, mainly people with HIV, we recommend giving them at least two, or even three doses, so that they are fully immunized,” said Alejandro Cravioto.

More than 340,000 women died of cervical cancer in 2020. It is the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide. “Approximately 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.

“Elimination of cervical cancer is possible”

“I firmly believe that it is possible to eliminate cervical cancer,” Dr. Princess Nothemba Simelela, WHO Assistant Director-General, said in a statement. “This single-dose recommendation has the potential to move faster toward our goal of 90% of 15-year-old girls being vaccinated by 2030,” she said. 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 option of the vaccine is less expensive, requires fewer resources and is easier to administer,” Princess Nothemba Simelela summarized.

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