An article published in the British Journal of Cancer has provided further evidence to suggest that the human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme is leading to a reduction in cervical abnormalities among the target population.
Since its introduction in 2008, researchers from Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and the University of Strathclyde have monitored the impact of the HPV vaccine among women attending for cervical screening at age 20. By linking individual vaccination, screening and HPV testing records, they have been able to determine the early impact of the immunisation programme on pre-cancerous cells.
Dr Kim Kavanagh, Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, said: “To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to show a reduction of pre-cancerous cells associated with the HPV vaccine at the population level.
“These data are very encouraging for countries that have achieved high HPV vaccine uptake.”
Dr Kevin Pollock, Senior Epidemiologist at HPS, said: “These findings are very exciting and demonstrate that high uptake of the HPV vaccine is associated with a significant reduction of low and high grade cervical abnormalities in young women in Scotland.”
The study authors said that while the data are extremely encouraging, regular attendance at cervical screening remains important since the vaccine does not afford protection against all types of HPV, which can cause cervical cancer.
In 2008, a national HPV immunisation programme began in Scotland for 12–13 year olds, with a three-year catch-up campaign for those under the age of 18. Since 2008, three-dose uptake of vaccine in girls aged 12–13 has exceeded 90% annually, while in the catch-up cohort – girls aged 13-17 – overall uptake was 66%.
Read the original article – University of Strathclyde: ‘Vaccine programme leads to reduction in cervical abnormalities’