According to first real-world data, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is reducing cases of cervical cancer by nearly 90% and saving lives. The Cancer Research UK described the findings as ‘historic’.
According to the researchers, almost all cervical cancers are caused by viruses, and the hope is vaccination could almost eliminate the disease. They said the success meant those who were vaccinated may need far fewer cervical smear tests too.
Another hope is that vaccination will have a big impact in countries where there is little access to cervical cancer screening as almost nine-in-10 deaths are in low and middle income countries.
More than 100 countries have started using the vaccine as part of World Health Organisation (WHO) plans to get close to eliminating cervical cancer.
Girls are offered the vaccine between the ages of 11 and 13, depending on where they live in the United Kingdom and have also been offered to boys since 2019.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women around the world, killing more than 300,000 each year.
The HPV vaccine can only prevent an infection; it cannot rid the body of the virus once it has been caught. The viruses are so widespread that immunization has to be aimed at children before they become sexually active.
Human papillomavirus vaccines are vaccines that prevent infection by certain types of human papillomavirus.