A recent study suggests that giving the human papillomavirus vaccine across a lengthier period could provide an avenue to give the vaccine to larger numbers of girls and women in poorer countries. Human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is a communicable disease that acts as the leading cause of cervical cancer, and is responsible for the deaths of over two hundred and seventy-five thousand women around the world each year. Roughly eighty-eight percent of these deaths take place in nations still undergoing development, according to information used as part of the study.
Dr. Kathleen M. Neuzil, of PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, a nonprofit based out of Seattle), said that by using basic evidence based screen procedures and simple treatment programs, provided they are continually strengthened over time, a solid HPV vaccine program could significantly reduce the rate of cervical cancer in developing countries. She added that one of the primary challenges to implementing a broad HPV vaccine program in developing countries is the delivery of the recommended doses. These doses would be delivered at a standard schedule of zero, two, and six months, or on an alternate schedule of zero, one, and six months. She says that vaccinations on this schedule could provide a lower cost alternative in countries where this is a viable option. In countries where this dosing schedule is a possibility, those performing the vaccinations may still offer alternatives for lower cost vaccinations or increased levels of coverage.
The researchers involved in the study compared four various schedules for dosing that were intended to give the vaccine for HPV to just over nine hundred adolescent girls across twenty-one schools in Vietnam. These doses were provided based on the standard schedule of doses at zero, two, and six months, as well as three alternate schedules. The three alternate schedules provided vaccinations at zero, six, and twelve months, at zero, three, and nine months, and at zero, twelve, and twenty-four months, respectively. The girls with the alternate dosing schedules provided similar results as those in the standard dosing schedule group, with no serious adverse effects being reported.
The findings of this study were published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which the focus was on immunology and infectious diseases. Neuzil’s team concluded that the similarity between the reactogenicity and immunogenicity profiles of HPV vaccines that were reported from the primarily ethnic minority populations, especially in areas of low resources in Vietnam and several areas around the globe, helps support a broader introduction of vaccinations. According to her, the WHO (World Health Organization) has acknowledged the programmatic difficulties and restraints which must be taken into account regarding the decision to begin national HPV vaccination programs. There is also the option to deliver HPV vaccinations on a flexible schedule, which will enable many countries to reduce the overall cost and maximize the feasibility of scheduling for national vaccination programs.