Delhi first state to launch HPV vaccine as public health programme in schools

The HPV vaccine protects people against the group of 150-odd HPVs, some of which can cause cervical cancer.

Written by Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi | Published:March 1, 2016 3:01 am

Delhi has become the first state in the country to launch the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a public health programme for school children. Health Minister Satyendar Jain Monday said girls studying in Class VI in government schools will be targeted in the first year. This will be completed in the current academic year over two phases.

The HPV vaccine protects people against the group of 150-odd HPVs, some of which can cause cervical cancer.

Speaking at the international workshop for cancer awareness, prevention, screening and early detection for SAARC nations Monday, Jain said, “In the next three to four months, we will begin the first phase of the vaccination programme in Delhi. This year, we are starting with only Class VI girl students. In the next year, our target is to include all girls between the age of 9 and 13. I think we will eradicate cervical cancer from Delhi first in India…”

Children will be given two doses of the vaccine. The first and the second doses will be administered within 30 days of each other. A third booster dose will be given within 240 days of the first vaccine, which will be covered in the next phase, said officials.

The Centre is mulling to introduce the vaccine under the universal immunisation programme, but no rollout has been announced as yet.

Jain said the programme will target 1-1.5 lakh girls in the first phase. “There are many logistics which need to be worked out, so we are starting the programme only in government schools for now. Next year, we will target private schools and cover a wider age group…,” he said.

He added that the booster doses will also be covered in later phases. Sources said the Delhi government will purchase the vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and MSD Pharmaceuticals at a subsidised cost of Rs 450 per dose. The market rate of the vaccine is Rs 3,000, said officials. “Currently, the vaccine is not manufactured in India. So, we will be importing the vaccine at a subsidised cost from GSK and MSD,” said a senior official. Jain said the government will purchase the vaccines directly from private companies.

Dr R K Grover, director of the Delhi state cancer institute, which will be coordinating the programme, said, “Almost 80 per cent of cervical cancers can be prevented with the HPV vaccine. This programme has already been adopted in 150 countries. Delhi will be the first state in India to replicate this.”

He said as per WHO recommendations, the first dose of the vaccine should be administered to girls between 9 and 13 years. “But this would amount to almost 10 lakh girls in Delhi, which would not be practical in the first year. So we will begin by targeting only girls in Class VI. By next year, we will widen the ambit,” he said, adding that the first phase will start in July-August and the second phase will be completed by January-February.

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    Dan Kegel
    Mar 2, 2016 at 11:46 pm
    Quick correction: the HPV vaccine protects against the worst few strains of HPV virus, not against the w group of 150. The vaccine is very effective at preventing infections if given before exposure. Thanks to the vaccine, high risk HPV infections are way down in the US and Australia. And because nearly all cases of cervical cancer start as HPV infections, that means cervical cancer will go down, too. It'll be about five to ten years before we see actual cancer rates dip in 25 year olds, but already precancerous lesion rates are falling. vccr has good data on falling rates of precancerous lesions in their annual statistical reports.
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      JS
      Mar 14, 2016 at 10:17 am
      Surprising that the article has not been corrected yet to show the correct information about the HPV strains covered by the vaccine. Hope they do it soon and stop taking the general public for a ride conveying misleading information. Moreover, they should also mention the controversies around the vaccine - protests in numerous countries due to severe life threatening adverse events and the litigation (in the Supreme Court of India) going on over the vaccine trials (of this vaccine) conducted in India which allegedly caused death of 7 girls.
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        Vimal
        Mar 1, 2016 at 9:25 am
        So people should aware of this and the government is responsible for any consequences.
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          Vimal
          Mar 1, 2016 at 9:24 am
          This HPV vaccine may be a modern indirect threat to Indian community.. And AAP and AK is to introduce this by some beneficiary who sell this medicine
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            SPW
            Mar 1, 2016 at 12:12 pm
            this may not be all that it is made out to be
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              Steve Hinks
              Feb 29, 2016 at 10:33 pm
              The European Medicines Agency stated ‘reviews of the reports did not show a consistent pattern regarding time-to-onset following vaccination, they appear to have totally ignored the evidence provided by the UK ociation of HPV Injured Daughters (AHVID) which reported that a questionnaire completed by 94 member families indicated that: • 27 girls (31% ) had adverse reactions on the same day as the vaccination, many of them suffrering immediately, within minutes. • 12 girls (14%) had adverse reactions after just 1 dose • 19 girls (22%) had adverse reactions after just 2 doses (some of these had reactions also to the 1st dose • 14 girls had adverse reactions after the 3rd dose (and some of these had earlier reactions) • At least 4 girls (4%) had adverse reactions after each of 3 doses. Health professionals had indicated that the vaccine is safe and the adverse reactions suffered were not recognised as side effects of the vaccine. Initial symptoms were often ‘generally unwell, flu-like, tired, aches and pains’. With each dose the severity increased and day-by-day the severity increased. With some it was eventually several weeks before these symptoms developed into collapse with total fatigue and sleeping up to 23 hours each day.
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                Steve Hinks
                Feb 29, 2016 at 10:33 pm
                This vaccine has never been proven to prevent a single case of cancer and it will be decades before we find out. Cases of cervical cancer in developed countries using Pap screening are 9/100,000. Deaths have come down from 8 to just 2/100,000 over the last 40 years with no vaccine and current uptake of screening of just 80%. Screening is still necessary even after vaccination. There are over 100 strains of HPV and some scientists expect other strains to replace those that are targeted by the vaccine. In the meantime thousands of girls are being seriously disabled and their lives ruined by the adverse reactions. In the UK 20,503 adverse reactions have been reported by Yellow Card, including 5 with fatal outcome (data obtained by FOIA request to MHRA). Even the manufacturers admit huge numbers of serious adverse reactions during the clinical trials.
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