Archive for March, 2014

The child’s right to health has more value than the rights of parents to the (wrong) choice

Monday, March 31st, 2014 (last updated)

This would probably cause an uproar of biblical proportions stateside, but one country is going ahead full-steam: On Wednesday Croatia’s constitutional court upheld a contested law mandating all children receive vaccinations.

Since 1999, Croatia has had compulsory nationwide inoculations, which have found great success. According to government estimates, “No occurrences of diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), measles, parotitis and poliomyelitis often called polio or infantile paralysis have been registered in recent years, while tetanus rates have been reduced by 97%, tuberculosis by 93% and hepatitis B, with mandatory vaccination against this disease introduced in 1999, by 65%.”


But the growing anti-vaccine debate has posed a challenge in recent years, with more and more parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. In 2012, 28 Croatian children didn’t receive vaccines; that number shot up in 2013 to 143. In fact, the court decided to take up the case after 10,000 people signed a petition arguing that “the vaccination of healthy children poses a threat to their health.”

The ruling: Now the court has put that argument to rest by ruling that these private concerns don’t supersede public safety. “The child’s right to health is more than the rights of parents to the (wrong) choice,” the court wrote in its ruling. All children must now receive shots for DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), polio, haemophilus influenza B, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and tuberculosis.

This could seem like some kind of communist-based instance of a nanny-state government taking away parental controls, but there’s a perfectly logical explanation: vaccines are really only effective when there’s “herd immunity,” or an overwhelming majority of a population that is inoculated. Because vaccines are not 100% effective, there is always a small risk of infection even after a person receives a shot. But that risk shrinks more and more as other people are also vaccinated, since the chances of a chain infection decrease to a very low probability.

Around the world: The dangerous effects of the anti-vaccine movement have become palpable in the U.S., where previously controlled diseases are making a comeback. But this is also an international problem, and other countries are stepping up to combat it. In addition to Croatia’s court ruling, Australia has also recently stripped an anti-vaccine group of its charity status. It’s simple: if you spread misinformation and paranoia, you’re not serving a public good.

It’s hard to imagine that libertarians would embrace the idea of American children being forced to receive injections. But what is truly more dangerous: the spread of dangerous, yet completely preventable, diseases or the proven, albeit imperfect, safeguard against them?


Welcome to the anti-vaccine body count

Sunday, March 30th, 2014 (last updated)

The United States Anti-Vaccination Movement is composed of a variety of individuals ranging from former doctors who should know better, to semi-celebrities who have no medical training, to anti-government conspiracy theorists who distrust anything that the government says. They all hold onto the mistaken belief that autism is caused by receiving childhood vaccines.

anti-vaccine body count

Most anti-vaccination believers claim that the compound Thimerosal led to an increase in autism cases. The Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine is their usual target. However, Thimerosal was never used as a preservative in the Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine. No vaccine licensed since 1999 has contained Thimerosal as a preservative, except a few multi-dose container vaccines such as some (but not all) HIB and Influenza vaccines. Autism has not declined since 1999, thereby disproving this connection. However, this has not stopped anti-vaccination believers from claiming that it was the MMR vaccine itself that caused autism or that it was vaccines in general that caused autism. All of these ideas have been disproven in multiple scientific and legal examinations of the evidence. The primary scientific reason for the increase in autism diagnoses is due to more disorders being included in the Autism Spectrum and doctors getting better at diagnosing the characteristics of autism.

In 2007 there was an increase in celebrities promoting anti-vaccination rhetoric. Because of their celebrity status they appeared on several television shows and published multiple books advising parents not to vaccinate their children. This has led to an increase in the number of vaccine preventable illnesses as well as an increase in the number of vaccine preventable deaths.

The Anti-Vaccination Movement has a body count attached to its name. This website publishes the total number of vaccine preventable illnesses and vaccine preventable deaths that have happened in the United States since this 2007 increase in speaking out against vaccines:

Is the United States Anti-Vaccination Movement directly responsible for every vaccine preventable illness and every vaccine preventable death listed here? No. However, the United States Anti-Vaccination Movement may be indirectly responsible for at least some of these illnesses and deaths and even one vaccine preventable illness or vaccine preventable death is too many.

Anti-Vaccine Body Count

Free app helps patients keep track of vaccination history

Saturday, March 29th, 2014 (last updated)

If you are like most people, you have absolutely no clue when you last had a tetanus shot or when your polio booster is due. Even if you have a yellow immunization book, you may not know where to find it.

And if you’re a parent, you may have a hard time keeping track of when your daughter is due for an HPV vaccination or which vaccinations your son will get in Grade 9.

A new smartphone app could make those hassles a thing of the past.

The free and bilingual ImmunizeCA app can log a whole family’s vaccination history, sending you reminders of when you or your children are due for vaccinations, tailoring the alerts to the schedule in the province or territory in which you live. It can also link you to reputable information about those vaccines.

“As a parent who thinks vaccination is important, I think this is a brilliant idea,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, head of infection control at Toronto’s University Health Network.

“It is remarkably old fashioned that these things are (still) written in books. Half the time when I see people’s vaccination records I can’t even read what’s written there,” said Gardam, who was not involved in the project.

The app was developed by researchers at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in conjunction with the Canadian Public Health Association and the organization Immunize Canada. The work was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The app is available for iPhones, Androids and Android-enabled Blackberrys. It can be downloaded at the App Store, Google Play and Blackberry World.

Information will be stored on individual phones, but people can also upload it to the iCloud or Google Drive. That way, if you lose or replace your phone, the information itself is not lost.

The project was the brainchild of Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute. He and Cameron Bell, an electrical engineering student at McGill University, had earlier developed a prototype version of this app, geared solely to residents in Ontario and available only for iPhones.

Wilson said the app won’t be an official immunization record, but will help people manage their own health information and to get accurate information on immunizations.

The app can and should be password protected, he said. And people who use apps that can scrub data remotely from a lost or stolen phone would be able to remotely delete their immunization records too.

Wilson says if provinces or territories change their immunization schedules, updates can be built into the program. The program could also notify people of outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases near them and tell them the corresponding vaccine status of every member of their family.

“We designed this for individuals to help them with their health information. But in the process we think we can help public health,” he said.

“Recent outbreaks across Canada show us that infectious diseases can still be a threat if your vaccinations aren’t up to date,” Ian Culbert, executive director of the Canadian Public Health Association said in a statement.

“It is imperative that we all maintain our vaccinations, from infancy to your senior years, and the ImmunizeCA app can help us, right at our fingertips.”

Immunize Canada & CTV News

Meningitis B jab ‘biggest breakthrough since the polio vaccine’

Friday, March 28th, 2014 (last updated)

A vaccine against a severe form of meningitis is set to be introduced in Britain. Babies are most at risk of Meningitis B.

Steve Dayman, founder of the charity Meningitis UK, who lost his 14-month-old son Spencer to meningitis and septicaemia, says the vaccine has great potential.

Al Jazeera

What’s the real story on vaccines?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 (last updated)

When we have children, we all hear a lot about vaccines and vaccine safety. It’s critical for your child’s health that you know the important facts. The bottom line is that vaccines preserve life and livelihood; the science is clear on that. Do We Really Need Vaccines? ABSOLUTELY

real story vaccines Click here

Mama Doc Medicine

Sarah Michelle Gellar on pertussis vaccine: “How could anyone who loves a child say no?”

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 (last updated)

Cold and flu season is almost behind us. Though your days of runny noses and coughs may soon be over, another illness is proving to be a more serious hazard for young ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns America is experiencing one of the largest outbreaks of reported pertussis cases in 50 years. That’s an even bigger deal for infants who are much more susceptible to the disease; they can’t get vaccinated until 2 months of age.

As mom to 4-year-old Charlotte and 17-month old Rocky, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, 36, was blown away when she learned how easily the disease can spread. Because newborns can’t get vaccinated right away, it’s still a must for adults who plan to be around an infant; the vaccine you got as a child has likely worn off. Parents caught up with the Sounds of Pertussis campaign ambassador to get her take on the disease as well as her tips for raising a healthy and active family.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

What makes you so passionate about this health issue?

Once you become a parent, your main job is to protect your children in any way possible. When I first had Charlotte, whooping cough was something most of my friends thought had been eradicated. People aren’t aware that 80 percent of the time when you link back to how an infant gets the disease, it comes from a family member or direct caregiver. That’s the scariest thought. Our job is to protect them, and if it’s something as simple as getting a vaccination, that’s something everyone needs to know.

What can moms say to convince family and friends to get vaccinated?

It’s about making the information understandable. The way I liken it is if someone has a cold usually they will try to stay away from your baby so he doesn’t get sick. So why would you potentially expose a child to something that’s even more fatal, like pertussis? When you put it in those simple terms, how can anyone who loves a child say no? When the information is coming from someone you trust, it’s a very easy decision.

It can be stressful when your kids don’t feel well. How do you handle Charlotte or Rocky getting sick?

There’s no question that the very first time your child gets that stuffy nose and cold, it completely freaks you out. You have so much guilt because you can’t explain it to them. I think sometimes first-time parents have this thing of, “I don’t want to bother the doctor and be that annoying parent.” But if you have a question, you need to ask it. As you have more children and become an experienced parent, you sort of get to the point with the colds where you’re like, “If it’s not severe, you’re going to school.”

You’re a very active person. How do you encourage your kids to keep fit as well?

The beauty of children is that everything is interesting to them. The more you involve them in whatever activity it is you’re doing, they just love to be part of your life. I let my daughter go walking with me and our dog Bella outside. And there’s still so many fun activities you can do for children exercise-wise in inclement weather. My daughter practices Yoga and Jiu-Jitsu. It’s about taking the time to listen to your child and find what interests her. Whatever those things are that appeal to children and get their minds flowing, that can help keep them healthy and active.

How do you motivate Charlotte and Rocky to eat healthy?

Including children in the actual preparation of food is a big thing. We started Charlotte in cooking classes at about 3, and seeing what goes into it gave her a new appreciation for vegetables. Whether you’re growing produce in your backyard or taking a trip to your local farmer’s market, seeing those different aspects can get children excited to eat better. And anything you can do to give a young child ownership and help him feel independent, that’s what you ultimately want. Even if it’s as simple as letting Rocky sprinkle cheese on eggs or a pizza. You just see his face light up.

What else can moms do to teach their children the importance of good health?

It ultimately comes down to explaining at a young age what healthy living means, teaching a child what germs are and how easily they are transmitted or how to wash his hands correctly. Those very simple things can really stop the spread, not just for your own family but for your friends and everyone else your child comes into contact with.

Whether you’ve had the vaccine or not, visit the campaign’s Breathing Room Facebook app to help spread the word about pertussis. There, you can create a virtual room for your Baby and invite family and friends to join you in the fight for protection. Every little step counts!

Parents Magazine

Meningitis B vaccine is set to be introduced in the UK

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 (last updated)

“A vaccine that protects against a deadly form of meningitis is set to be introduced in the UK,” BBC News reports, while the Mail Online adds that a “New life-saving meningitis jab [will be available] for all children on NHS as Health Secretary announces policy U-turn.”

The widely covered story is based on the Department of Health’s recommendation that the meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, is introduced as part of the NHS vaccination schedule. Bexsero provides a level of protection against the highly aggressive meningitis B bacterial infection, which, although rare, can cause permanent disability and sometimes death.

The Department of Health’s expert advisers on vaccination and immunisation – the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – has recommended that the meningitis B vaccine is added to the NHS childhood immunisation schedule for infants starting at two months of age.

The JCVI says this is subject to the vaccine being made available by the manufacturer Novartis at a cost effective price. This means that further negotiations are still required before these recommendations become reality. The committee previously recommended that the vaccine would not be cost effective at any price, prompting protests from scientists and parents.

A catch-up programme for older infants and adolescents has not been recommended, however. This means that the Mail is premature in its reporting that “all” children will receive the vaccine as part of the NHS immunisation schedule.

The Department of Health says that the UK will be the first country in the world to introduce a national meningitis B immunisation programme.

What is meningitis B?

Meningitis B is a highly aggressive strain of bacterial meningitis that infects the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is very serious and should be treated as a medical emergency.

If the infection is left untreated, it can cause severe brain damage and infect the blood (septicaemia, also known as blood poisoning). In some cases bacterial meningitis can be fatal.

The charity Meningitis Now (formerly Meningitis UK) estimates that there are 1,870 cases of meningitis B each year in the UK. Meningitis B is most common in children under five years old, particularly in babies under the age of one.

What is the vaccine?

Bexsero Meningococcal Group B vaccine is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Novartis Vaccines. It is licensed for use in the UK for the immunisation of individuals from two months of age and older to help protect against the disease caused by the Neisseria meningitides group B bacteria.

It is not a live vaccine. The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system (the body’s natural defence system), resulting in protection against the disease. It is given as an intramuscular injection, usually in the thigh or upper arm.

Bexsero is thought to provide 73% protection against meningitis B, which should significantly reduce the number of cases.

It is not recommended in people known to be allergic to the active substances or ingredients of the vaccine.

As with other vaccines, Bexsero should be postponed in people who have acute high temperatures, but the presence of minor infections such as colds should not lead to the vaccine being delayed.

Like all vaccines, this vaccine can cause side effects. Common side effects, affecting more than 1 in 10 people, include:

  • redness of the skin at the injection site
  • swelling and/or hardness of the skin at the injection site
  • fever of 38°C or more
  • loss of appetite
  • tenderness or discomfort at the injection site
  • skin rash (in children aged 12 to 23 months)
  • sleepiness
  • feeling irritable
  • unusual crying
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea

The JCVI states that paracetamol given at the time or shortly after vaccination should reduce the likelihood or intensity of fever without lowering the immune response.

What recommendations have been made?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is an independent expert committee that advises the Secretary of State for Health on vaccination and immunisation.

The JCVI has recommended a programme for the use of the meningitis B vaccine as part of the NHS immunisation schedule for children at 2, 4 and 12 months. The committee says the vaccine only demonstrated cost effectiveness at a low price.

It has not recommended a 5 to 12-month booster as they say this has not been specifically considered in the cost effectiveness analysis. The committee has not recommended the vaccine be used for catch-up programmes for older infants and adolescents.

Assuming that the price negotiations with the vaccine manufacturer proceed smoothly, it is expected that infants will start receiving the vaccine in 2015.


I’m a pediatrician. Should I treat all kids, or just the vaccinated ones? It’s not an easy call.

Monday, March 24th, 2014 (last updated)

The latest incident of parents who don’t vaccinate their children impacting parents who do is unfolding in New York City, where the Health Department has confirmed a measles outbreak. Parents who don’t want their children immunized put pediatricians—the great, great majority of us, anyway—in a quandary. On the one hand, we profoundly believe in the value and importance of vaccines. On the other hand, we profoundly believe in the value and importance of caring for all children who need us, and some of those children have parents who refuse to vaccinate.

Probably most of my colleagues would be very annoyed to hear me say so, but if you were to take all the pediatricians and stuff them in a barrel and fling them over Niagara Falls, the world would not be so badly off, but the same cannot be said about vaccines: Getting rid of them would be a real disaster. Second only to providing clean water and properly dealing with sewage, the use of vaccines has contributed more to our quality and length of life than any other medical or public health intervention.

But not everybody understands that, partly because vaccines have been so successful at eliminating many serious infectious diseases that there is no longer any public perception of risk from the illnesses they prevent. But there are other forces at play that make some parents reluctant to have their children immunized, even though they care a lot about their children’s health. The Internet permits people to write anything they want, and apparently people do just that, authoritatively, no matter whether their positions are (or are not) sensible or rational. To complicate things, we are all influenced by a fascinating psychological mechanism that automatically imputes gravitas, wisdom, and authority to anything presented in Times New Roman, even if the same message would be dismissed out of hand if scrawled in chalk on a sidewalk. Googling “immunization” will give you lots and lots of hits that probably ought to have been written in chalk on a sidewalk.

Besides, we’ve all been manipulated and lied to for somebody’s political or parochial or financial benefit, and so it’s not hard to believe that we are all constantly being manipulated and lied to for somebody’s political or parochial or financial benefit. I cheerfully admit that I often feel that way, and it helps me to understand the sense of suspicion that affects the thinking of parents reluctant to allow their children to be vaccinated.

So here is where pediatricians find themselves: Even if we believe—as virtually all of us do—that immunization is tremendously important and valuable, what do we do about the parents who don’t want their kids to get vaccinated?

Sydney Spiesel

Different docs have different answers to that question, and each answer raises its own ethical issues. Probably the easiest to dispense with are the tiny, tiny minority of doctors who just don’t believe in immunization: They welcome reluctant parents with open arms, reinforce the reluctance, and keep everybody happy (except, of course, the rest of us). These doctors are adding, to some degree, to everyone’s risk. And that’s an ethical lapse, not just a medical one.

The great majority of doctors, however, apparently having paid attention in medical school, fully accept the value of vaccines and the very, very low rate of risk attached to vaccination. (Nothing in medicine or life is ever completely devoid of risk, but—contrary to the chalk-scrawls—vaccination is one of the safest treatments you will ever encounter.) What do we do about vaccine refusers? It’s a difficult question. If we don’t allow unimmunized kids in our practice, where will they get medical care? That’s the reason that many (though I’m not sure how many) pediatricians allow unimmunized kids in their practice. But others refuse to see any patients whose parents won’t vaccinate them. According to a 2012 Wall Street Journal story, “In a study of Connecticut pediatricians published last year, some 30% of 133 doctors said they had asked a family to leave their practice for vaccine refusal, and a recent survey of 909 Midwestern pediatricians found that 21% reported discharging families for the same reason.”

In 2005 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement addressing the question of how to respond to parents who refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated. The document focused on how pediatricians ought to deal with vaccine refusal (with reason) and recommended that we do our best to educate parents about benefits and risks. Though there is a nod to the public health implications of immunization refusal, most of the attention is addressed to the medical needs of the child whose parents don’t want immunization. The policy, after a minor change in 2013, suggests that pediatricians should “endeavor not to discharge” patients whose parents refuse immunization.

Perhaps I am too heavily influenced by the beginning of my career, which was in public health, but I feel a strong commitment to the well-being of all the kids in the community and, even more strongly, to the health of all the children in my practice; not just the one I’m seeing right this minute. I know that doctor’s offices, like schools and shopping malls—any place that children congregate—pose an increased risk for disease transmission. It just seems unfair that one parent’s well-intended but perhaps not well-thought-out decision for her own child should add risk for the lives of other children I take care of. So, yes, I do have rules that apply to parents who refuse vaccination. But my rules differ a little bit from those of most pediatricians.

Personally, I draw the line at vaccines protecting against diseases that kids might catch from exposures in my office. If parents want to withhold protection from hepatitis B or cervical and oral cancer, I think it’s not so smart, but I’ll still care for their children because not even the friskiest teen is likely to transmit these diseases in my office. Measles? Whooping cough? These are another matter. My sense of responsibility to the health of the vast majority of kids coming to see me says “no.”

I didn’t come to this decision easily. After all, it’s the parents, not the children, who make the choice to avoid vaccines—what is my responsibility to those kids? Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I sort of believe that my clear policy may be beneficial to them, too. It’s a statement of how important I think immunization is (and why I think so). It encourages families to think about responsibility to others in the community. And it sometimes provokes people to rethink the question. (I’ve had families who left my practice because of my policy, but later came back, perhaps in spite of it—or perhaps, finally, because of it.)

But I’m not entirely naïve. My decision is made easier because I’m lucky enough to live in a state, Connecticut, that is serious about requiring shots to attend school. In addition, there are plenty of fine practitioners around town, and the statistics suggest that if 30 percent of Connecticut’s pediatricians won’t see unimmunized kids, it must mean that 70 percent will take care of them. What would I do about vaccine-refusing families if I were the only doc around? That would be a hard one.


Novel vaccine trial aims to answer key tuberculosis questions

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 (last updated)

Aeras today announced the initiation of the first randomized, controlled tuberculosis (TB) vaccine trial designed to study prevention of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection by vaccination. The Phase II study of the TB vaccine candidate, H4+IC31® (AERAS-404), will evaluate its safety, immunogenicity, and ability to prevent infection by Mtb, the bacterium that causes TB. The trial, which will be conducted in South Africa, will also evaluate BCG revaccination.

This novel trial design establishes a potential new paradigm in TB vaccine development. Clinical development of TB vaccines is hampered by the lack of biologic correlates of protection and lack of validated preclinical models, which could provide evidence of likely efficacy in early stages of development. The prevention of infection trial design enables a smaller, faster proof of concept to help in deciding on advancement into large-scale disease-prevention trials.While a TB vaccine would not need to prevent infection with Mtb to prevent TB disease, prevention of infection with Mtb would be an important marker of biologic impact.

“For the first time in a TB vaccine trial, we will be testing for infection by Mtb, rather than waiting to measure the occurrence of clinical disease, which is more expensive and requires much larger studies,” said Thomas G. Evans, MD, Aeras President and CEO. “This will enable us to obtain results much more quickly and with fewer subjects, and the data we generate will ensure that the entire field of TB vaccine R&D progresses in a more informed and streamlined way.”

“Right now, we do not have a reliable way to prevent people who are exposed to Mtb from becoming infected, and one out of 10 people who become infected will develop active TB disease at some point in their life,” said Associate Professor Mark Hatherill, Interim Director of SATVI. “Preventing new infections by vaccination, and interrupting the cycle of transmission, would make a tremendous impact on the TB epidemic.”

Preliminary results are expected at the end of 2015. If this initial study in adolescents shows that revaccination with BCG or vaccination with H4+ IC31® prevents infection with Mtb, then additional larger scale efficacy studies looking at the impact on TB disease in more diverse populations would be warranted.


GAVI Alliance tackles cervical cancer

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 (last updated)

The GAVI Alliance today announced that it will support vaccination programmes in Rwanda, Uganda and Uzbekistan aiming to protect 1.5 million girls against the cause of cervical cancer.

The first Alliance-supported national rollouts of the vaccine, which protects against human papillomavirus (HPV), will begin in Uganda and Uzbekistan in 2015 while Rwanda will switch from a vaccine manufacturer’s donation to GAVI Alliance support this year to secure the sustainability of its existing national programme.

“Cervical cancer is a scourge on women and their families in the world’s poorest countries,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “With limited access to screening and treatment, it is all the more important to vaccinate girls against HPV to give them the best protection possible against cervical cancer, which claims more than a quarter of a million women’s lives every year.”

The three countries have developed detailed plans to ensure that girls aged 10 – 12 years are vaccinated with HPV vaccine in schools and also that those who are not in the classroom are reached in communities through outreach by health workers.

Rwanda has already been running a successful HPV vaccination programme thanks to a donation from a supplier. Alliance support will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme, with the country contributing towards every dose it receives through GAVI’s co-financing policy.

“Three years ago, Rwanda became the first African country to implement a nationwide school-based, HPV immunisation programme, thanks to a donation,” said Dr Agnes Binagwaho, Rwandan Minister of Health. “This month marks another “first” as Rwanda shifts to GAVI-supported vaccination financing. Rwanda invests its own resources into co-financing vaccines from GAVI and so this transition marks an important step towards sustainability, and to ensure that every girl in Rwanda grows up without fear of this devastating killer.”

Last month, the GAVI Alliance announced that a further 10 countries will undertake HPV demonstration programmes which target specific areas of the country to enable them to build capacity and gain experience with implementation, which will inform the possibility of a future nationwide rollout.

An estimated 266,000 women die every year from cervical cancer, of which more than 85% live in low-income countries, according to the latest statistics published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Without changes in prevention and control, cervical cancer deaths are expected to rise to 416,000 by 2035, with over 95% expected to be women living in poor countries.

Women in developing countries often lack access to cervical cancer screening and treatment, making HPV vaccine the best prevention tool against cervical cancer. Unlike most other vaccines, which are administered to children under the age of five, HPV vaccines are given to girls aged nine to 13. Immunising girls before initiation of sexual activity, that is before exposure to HPV infection, is a key strategy to prevent cervical cancer.

GAVI Alliance tackles cervical cancer

Click here

GAVI Alliance