HPV Vaccination Protects Women From Cancer and Empowers Their Future
Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine now approved for women and men 9 to 45 years of age
"On this International Day of the Girl, let us recommit to support every girl to develop her skills, enter the workforce on equal terms and reach her full potential. " — UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Cervical cancer profoundly changes a woman's life and her future, says the World Health Organization (WHO) in a press release.
Over 28,000 women die every year in the European Region of cervical cancer, and many more suffer long-term health consequences.
On International Day of the Girl, October 11, 2018, the WHO/Europe focuses on the vital role vaccination plays in stopping cervical cancer and thereby protecting girls’ lives and their full future potential.
The WHO recommends that all girls aged 9–14 years receive 2 doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Over 270 million doses of HPV vaccine have been administered worldwide so far, and the impact of the vaccine is clear.
Rapid reductions of up to 90 percent in HPV infections and genital warts in young women have been demonstrated by studies conducted in Australia, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Along with effective cervical cancer screening programs, reductions in HPV infections will dramatically reduce cases of cervical cancer, reducing suffering and death.
HPV is a group of viruses that infect the skin or various mucous membranes, such as in the mouth or cervix. Common types of sexually transmitted HPV can cause cervical cancer in women as well as genital warts and other cancers in men and women.
HPV is easy to contract and pass on to others: about 80 percent of people will be infected with one or more types of the virus at some time in their lives.
Most HPV infections in the cervix do not cause any symptoms. The infection usually lasts 1–2 years and goes away on its own.
However, at least 1 out of every 10 such infections becomes longer-lasting and can develop into precancerous growths. If these growths are not detected and removed on time, they can develop over several years or decades into cervical cancer.
To date, 37 of the 53 countries in the WHO/European Region have introduced the vaccine into their national routine immunization schedules.
Vaccinating all girls against cervical cancer will also indirectly prevent most boys from contracting the virus.
However, several countries also offer the vaccine to boys to ensure their direct and immediate protection from genital warts and forms of HPV-related cancer that affect both men and women.
Recently, October 6th, 2018, the Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine was additionally approved for women and men aged 27 through 45 years in the USA.
This expanded Gardasil 9 approval is based on new data from a long-term follow-up study.
"Preventing cancer with a vaccine is a dream come true as a healthcare provider. And now even more people can benefit from this life-saving therapy,” said Michelle Beall, Pharm.D., Clinical Pharmacist, Brookshire Grocery Company.
“I highly encourage anyone from 9 to 45 years of age to ask their pharmacist about receiving this vaccine."
To schedule an HPV vaccination appointment at a local pharmacy, please visit this website.
Questions and answers about HPV vaccination?