UNICEF recently announced that it will provide the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to 52 countries. In 2023 alone, UNICEF will provide this life-saving vaccine to a quarter of the world's countries.
Seven countries - Bangladesh, Cambodia, Swatini, Kiribati, Mongolia, Nigeria and Togo - intend to include HPV vaccine in their routine immunization programs in 2023. On April 28, 2023, UNICEF confirmed that only one in eight girls has been vaccinated against HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer. Since 2019, HPV vaccination coverage has declined by 15 percent, one of the largest regressions of any vaccine during the pandemic.
Oluwaseun Ayanniyi, a contract specialist at UNICEF's Vaccine Centre in the Supply Division in Copenhagen, commented that she is optimistic that significant progress can be made again in preventing cervical cancer.
The CDC says HPV vaccines can help prevent certain cancers in boys and girls. These vaccines are usually available at clinics and pharmacies in the United States. As of May 8, 2023, the FDA has approved a variety of vaccines that can prevent certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as Mpox.
Importance of Vaccination for Preventing HPV
Vaccination is a critical tool for preventing human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which can lead to several types of cancer, including cervical cancer, anal cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer. The HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing the types of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers.
The vaccine is recommended for both boys and girls, ideally before they become sexually active, as it is most effective when given before exposure to the virus. The World Health Organization recommends vaccinating girls aged 9-14 years with two doses of the HPV vaccine, while older girls and women may require three doses. Boys should also receive the HPV vaccine, as it can prevent HPV-related cancers in both sexes.
In addition to vaccination, regular cervical cancer screening is important for early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions. Vaccination and screening together can significantly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. It is essential to continue to promote and prioritize HPV vaccination efforts to prevent HPV-related cancers and improve overall public health.