Policy Statement on the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine
The Prevent Cancer Foundation encourages vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) according to recommendations issued by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ACIP recommended in June 2006 that females 11 to 26 years old be vaccinated against HPV to prevent cervical cancer, precancerous and low-grade lesions, and genital warts caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18.
The committee also recommended that the approved vaccine be administered to 11- and 12-year-old females and to females age 13 to 26 who have not previously been vaccinated, and that nine- and 10-year-old females can be vaccinated at the discretion of their physicians. The Prevent Cancer Foundation supports and encourages continued studies of efficacy of the vaccine in older female and male populations. We also support continued safety monitoring for potential long-term effects of the vaccine.
To improve dissemination of the vaccine to ensure that it reaches all at- risk females, the Prevent Cancer Foundation encourages certain actions to promote utilization and remove financial barriers.
- First, the vaccine should be part of the adolescent vaccination schedule.
- Second, the Foundation encourages states and private educational entities to engage in debate about making the vaccination mandatory for middle-, high school- and college-age students. (Until there are laws requiring vaccination, vaccine uptake has historically remained slow.)
- Third, the Foundation encourages strong financial assistance programs and insurance coverage of the three-dose vaccine course, through the Vaccine for Children program, private insurance coverage and patient assistance programs through the manufacturer.
Moreover, the Prevent Cancer Foundation urges the pharmaceutical industry, in consultation with health care professionals and the health advocacy community, to develop a policy for vaccination of underserved populations in the United States. Without strong outreach and financial support into underserved communities, the vaccine will not permeate these population groups.
Finally, women who receive vaccination for HPV should continue to be screened for cervical cancer. While vaccination against HPV has enormous potential to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality worldwide, women and girls should continue regular Pap screening according to accepted guidelines and in consultation with their health care professional.
Since the mid-1950s, when Pap screening came into widespread use in the U.S., cervical cancer deaths in the U.S. have fallen by nearly 70 percent. Because the vaccine protects against only certain strains of HPV, continued Pap screening is essential; vaccination should not be a substitute for cancer screening. Vaccination coupled with screening, however, can be a powerful tool in further reducing deaths from cervical cancer.
For more information please contact Lisa Hughes
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