Should You Get the HPV Vaccine

Should You Get the HPV Vaccine

Should You Get the HPV Vaccine? The World Health Organization (WHO) released a position paper in May 2017 and cites its recommendation on the use of HPV vaccines. The position paper replaces an earlier version – 2014 WHO position paper of HPV vaccines.

You can get this paper titled “Human papillomavirus vaccines: WHO position paper, May 17 – Recommendations here. The position paper answers why should you get the HPV vaccine and focuses primarily on the prevention of cervical cancer, but also considers the broader spectrum of cancers and other diseases preventable by HPV vaccination. It incorporates recent developments concerning HPV vaccines, including the licensure of a nonavalent (9-valent) vaccine and recent data on vaccine effectiveness, and guides the choice of the vaccine. New recommendations are proposed regarding vaccination strategies targeting girls only or both girls and boys, and vaccination of multiple birth cohorts.

WHO recommends that HPV vaccines should be incorporated into a coordinated and comprehensive strategy, that includes the following components:

  • Education on behaviors that might increase HPV risk
  • Training healthcare workers and providing critical information to women regarding screening, diagnosis, and treatment of precancerous lesions and cancer
  • Increasing access to screening and treatment (as well as treatment for invasive cancer)

HPV vaccination will serve as a “primary preventive intervention.” Regardless, individuals receiving the vaccine will still need to go for screening, since the existing vaccines do not protect against all high-risk HPV types and will have limited impact on disease in women older than the vaccine eligible group.  

The authors also recommend incorporating vaccination into programs that are specifically targeting younger individuals. The primary population target for HPV vaccination is girls between the age of 9 and 14, who are not yet sexually active. The secondary population target is females over 15 years of age or males. WHO recommends that this population receive vaccination only when “feasible, affordable, [and] cost-effective,” and if it doesn’t avert resources away from targeting the primary population. 

Furthermore, the WHO recommends a vaccination strategy that targets “multiple age cohorts of girls aged between 9 and 18 years.” They feel that this “would result in faster and greater population impact than vaccination of single age cohorts, due to the estimated increase in direct protection and herd immunity.”

We would like to interest you to watch an old video, Dr. Mike Evans created way back in 2012, a whiteboard video presentation titled “Should You Get the HPV Vaccine?” Though there have been new emerging data after it was published, just the same, the video provided an excellent and simplified approach for laymen to understand.

Some of the newly emerging data after the video was conceived are as follows:

  • GARDASIL 9 is the only vaccine that helps protect against certain cancers and diseases caused by 9 types of HPV (Types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58).
  • Data on the reduction of cervical cancer after vaccine implementation is now being appreciated. Australia will become the first country to effectively eliminate cervical cancer if vaccination and screening rates are maintained, researchers say.

Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *