Latest articles about HPV       Routine vaccines: HPV

Gavi’s impact

HPV vaccine coverage increased from 7% in 2019 to 10% in 2022. This was largely driven by countries introducing the vaccine into their national immunisation programmes. By the end of 2022, 32 countries had successfully launched their HPV vaccine national programme with Gavi support, fully immunising more than 16.3 million girls since 2014, which translates to over 387,000 cervical cancer deaths averted with Gavi support.

In April 2022, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) recommended a one- or two-dose schedule for HPV vaccine; subsequently, the WHO position paper was released in December 2022. In response to this potential gamechanger for Gavi’s HPV vaccine programme – and to overcome the challenges and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HPV vaccine delivery – in December 2022, the Gavi Board approved the revitalisation of Gavi’s HPV vaccine programme. This revitalisation initiative committed to reach 86 million adolescent girls with HPV vaccine by 2025 through: (1) accelerating quality introductions; (2) rapidly improving global and national coverage; and (3) generating long- term programmatic sustainability.

With efforts underway to strengthen programme delivery and facilitate more introductions, and long-standing supply challenges easing thanks to increased vaccine production and the new one-dose recommendation, coverage is expected to further increase in the coming years.

The issue

Cervical cancer caused 179,000 deaths in 2020 in lower- income countries. However,  human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with over 90% of these cancers, and vaccination provides high protection against cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine has amongst the highest impact of all Gavi-supported vaccines, with 17.4 deaths averted per 1,000 children vaccinated, and is the key intervention towards achieving the global strategy for cervical cancer elimination.

HPV vaccination is critical to reducing cervical cancer, especially in lower-income countries with a high disease burden and less developed cervical cancer screening and treatment programmes. It is also a bridge to improving women’s and girls’ health through increased touchpoints with health services, and therefore an opportunity to positively impact gender equity.

Gavi’s response

Historically, the high cost of HPV vaccine, limited supply and challenges of reaching adolescent girls to deliver immunisation have been barriers to introduction in lower-income countries. Gavi is working to bridge the equity gap by providing support for HPV vaccine and ensuring sustainable prices. Gavi supports HPV vaccines for national introduction, with immunisation of multi-age cohorts of girls aged 9–14 years.

These objectives have been facilitated by an easing of global HPV vaccine supply constraints, the permissive recommendation by SAGE for a one-dose schedule (compared with the  two-dose schedule) and the waning of COVID-19 pandemic-related delivery disruptions. Nonetheless, by end 2022, over 16 million girls had been reached with HPV vaccine with Gavi support.

In December 2022 the Gavi Board approved the revitalisation of the Alliance’s HPV vaccine programme with a US$ 600+ million investment through 2025. With the additional funding in place, the Alliance has set an ambitious goal to reach over 86 million girls with HPV vaccine by 2025, aiming to avert over 1.4 million future deaths from cervical cancer.

The revitalisation will allow Gavi to dedicate additional funding to help countries and partners reach more girls than ever with this life-saving vaccine – through expanded funding for vaccines, introduction and campaign costs;, and expanded support for technical assistance.

Gavi-eligible countries can also utilise health system strengthening (HSS) funding to develop tailored approaches to improve and sustain HPV vaccination coverage.

Gavi procures three HPV vaccines that have been prequalified by WHO. Through long-term agreements with manufacturers, supply is likely to be sufficient to meet the ongoing demand for delayed MAC catch-up campaigns and routine introductions, supported by the adoption of a one-dose schedule by countries, and suppliers ramping up production.



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How does HPV cause cervical cancer?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer worldwide, killing hundreds of thousands of people every year. Here’s how the virus triggers cancer.

“The vaccine is extremely effective”: no cases of invasive cervical cancer found in Scottish women vaccinated against HPV

Real-world data suggests the HPV vaccine dramatically cuts cancer risk among women who received it during adolescence.

How to apply for vaccine support

Gavi Support Guidelines

Eligible countries can access detailed guidelines to manage the support they receive from Gavi.

Last updated: 18 Apr 2024

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