[SaneVax: No one wants to impede the progress toward potential elimination of cancer. However, this article brings up multiple questions. Why are HPV vaccines being introduced in countries where there is limited or no access to health facilities capable of providing the cancer screening which is still required post-vaccination? Why were HPV vaccines introduced in countries which had already reduced the risk of cervical cancer deaths? How can HPV vaccines be touted as 'life-saving' when there is no evidence they have saved a single life to date?]
By Cervical Cancer Action, June 2011
The GAVI Alliance recently announced a number of vaccine price reductions, including a commitment from Merck & Co., Inc. to provide HPV vaccine at US$5 per dose to the GAVI Alliance so that GAVI can offer it at a subsidized price to the world’s poorest countries. Once GAVI subsidizes the vaccine, it is likely–based on recent experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America–that many low-resource countries will add HPV vaccine to their national programs.
The text below comes from a CCA press release:
The announcement today is a major step forward, helping erode the price barrier that has delayed access to this life-saving vaccine in the countries where cervical cancer deaths are highest. A similar price commitment is now needed from GlaxoSmithKline plc, the producer of the other HPV vaccine.
Because infection with HPV is responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer, widespread HPV vaccination of girls will help to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths among women in developing countries in the decades ahead. Of the 275,000 worldwide deaths due to cervical cancer each year, more than 85 percent occur in developing countries, where women often lack access to cancer screening and treatment.
Since 2006, HPV vaccines have become available through public sector, government programs in thirty-three countries. The first countries to introduce the vaccine were wealthy, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In these countries, strong early screening and treatment programs had already achieved low-levels of disease, but HPV vaccine was still considered a cost-effective public health investment. Several middle-income countries–namely Mexico, Panama and Malaysia–and two low-income countries, Bhutan and Rwanda, also have set up national programs. But most girls in low-income countries, especially those from poorer families, have no access to the vaccine.