A single dose of the human papillomavirus vaccine protects against cervical cancer

The group of Experts on Immunization of the World Health Organization (SAGE, for its acronym in English) has concluded after the last evaluation of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus that a single dose provides an efficacy comparable to the pattern of two or three injections. Protection is strong, the WHO reported in a statement, against the virus that causes cervical cancer. The conclusion is important because it would allow more women to be vaccinated and, therefore, improve the level of disease prevention.

Health will not include the papilloma vaccine in the children's calendar, despite the recommendations of the WHO

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This new single-dose recommendation "has the potential to bring us more quickly to our goal of having 90% of girls vaccinated by age 15 by 2030," said WHO Deputy Director-General Dr. Nothemba (Nono). Simelela. Opting for a single dose is less expensive, requires fewer resources, and makes it easier to administer and follow up girls for the second injection.

In Spain, the vaccine is included in the vaccination calendar of all the autonomous communities and is therefore administered free of charge to girls between 11 and 14 years of age, the age prior to the start of sexual intercourse, the route of transmission of this virus . In the case of children, the injection is outside the official immunization program except in some communities, although there are more and more voices recommending that it also be introduced for men. Including the WHO.

The incorporation of the vaccine, however, is uneven in the countries of the world. Inclusion in immunization programs is being slow and coverage is low, especially in the poorest territories, recalls the WHO.

SAGE urges all countries to introduce HPV vaccines and to prioritize catching up the missing and older age cohorts of girls. "These recommendations will allow more girls and women to be vaccinated and thus prevent them from having cervical cancer and all its consequences throughout their lives," says the president of the group of experts, Dr. Alejandro Cravioto. The vaccine, Cravioto pointed out, is "very effective in preventing HPV serotypes 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancers."

The expert body recommends a one- or two-dose schedule for girls ages 9 to 20 and two doses six months apart for women over 21. People who are immunosuppressed, including those with HIV, should receive three doses. And if it is not possible, two. In this group there is limited evidence on the efficacy of a single injection, says the WHO. Global coverage in 2020 with two doses was just 13%, according to WHO data.

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