Real-world evidence demonstrates efficacy of HPV vaccine

Morgan Liotta

24/01/2024 3:56:44 PM

Zero cases of cervical cancer have been detected in Scotland among those who received the bivalent vaccine by age 12.

Group of young school girls
The HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing development of invasive cervical cancer in young adolescents, new research shows.

No cases of cervical cancer have so far been detected in girls or people with a cervix who received the bivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by age 12 years, according to a new paper from Public Health Scotland (PHS).
The authors say these results validate the vaccine’s effectiveness when administered at age 12–13 years, and that even one or two doses, one month apart, provide benefit if administered within the same age bracket.
The HPV immunisation program was rolled out to girls aged 12–13 in Scotland in 2008, and screening is offered to all women aged 25–64.
For the study, data was collected for those born between 1988 and 1996 extracted from the Scottish cervical cancer screening system in July 2020 and linked to cancer registry, immunisation, and deprivation data.
No cases of invasive cancer were recorded in those vaccinated at 12 or 13 years of age, irrespective of the number of doses.
For older ages, three doses are required for ‘statistically significant vaccine effectiveness’, the authors write.
Women vaccinated at 14–22 years of age and given three doses of the bivalent vaccine showed a significant reduction in incidence of 3.2 per 100,000 compared to 8.4 per 100, 000 in unvaccinated women.
It also found women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds benefit more from vaccination than those from less deprived areas, with unadjusted incidence significantly higher in women from most deprived than least deprived areas (10.1 versus 3.9 per 100,000). Women from the most deprived areas showed a significant reduction in incidence following three doses of the vaccine.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 25–35 years in Scotland, with around six women diagnosed every week, or 300 per year.
In Australia, 869 women aged 25–74 were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019, which is an incidence rate of 11 new cases per 100,000. An estimated 942 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed in 2022.
In addition to the National Cervical Screening Program – Australia’s successful public health initiative which has reduced cervical cancer incidence and mortality since it was introduced in 1991 – the
National Immunisation Program provides the HPV vaccine free during school-based vaccination sessions for all Australian children aged 12–13 years.
Public Health Scotland hopes the results of their study will help to continue participation rates in the vaccination and screening programs to prevent cervical cancer.
Study co-author Dr Kirsty Roy told BBC News the findings set in stone how highly effective the HPV vaccine is.
‘Vaccination against HPV is shown to be effective in preventing cervical cancer, and along with regular screening for early detection and treatment, it is possible to make cervical cancer a rare disease,’ she said.
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