Centre to launch HPV vaccination drive for girls aged 9 to 14 in 6 states

The first phase of the vaccination campaign is expected to target 2.55 crore girls in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh

Livemint
First Published12 Feb 2023
The Union Health Ministry plans to acquire 16.02 crore doses of the vaccine by 2026
The Union Health Ministry plans to acquire 16.02 crore doses of the vaccine by 2026 (HT_PRINT)

In an effort to combat the incidence of cervical cancer in India, the government has announced plans to administer the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to girls aged nine to 14 years in six states. 

This first phase of the vaccination campaign is expected to target 2.55 crore girls in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh, a PTI report cited. The Union Health Ministry plans to acquire 16.02 crore doses of the vaccine by 2026 and is preparing to tender a global call for bids in April.

The Serum Institute of India recently launched an indigenous HPV vaccine against cervical cancer called CERVAVAC. The Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs at the Serum Institute, Prakash Kumar Singh, wrote a letter to the Health Ministry saying that CERVAVAC will be available in the private market for 2,000 per dose in a two-dose glass vial presentation. Singh also pledged that the vaccine will be provided to the Health Ministry at an affordable price whenever it floats a tender. Currently, only one HPV vaccine, Gardasil, produced by American multinational Merck, is available in India's private market for 10,850 in a single-dose pre-filled syringe presentation.

India is home to 16% of the world's women, but accounts for about 25% of global cervical cancer cases and almost 33% of cervical cancer deaths. According to Indian officials, women in the country have a 1.6% lifetime cumulative risk of developing cervical cancer and a 1% cumulative death risk from the disease. About 80,000 women develop cervical cancer each year in India, with 35,000 dying as a result.

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, and the HPV vaccine has been shown to be a safe and effective way to prevent the disease. The vaccine is designed to protect against two strains of the virus responsible for around 70% of cervical cancer cases. By administering the vaccine to girls at a young age, the government aims to limit the spread of the virus and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

 

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