Single-dose: Survey and supporting resources

8th December 2022

In a previous blog, we discussed the announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO’s) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) that a single dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine delivers a comparable level of protection against HPV infection as two doses of HPV vaccine. 

It is anticipated that the WHO will share an official endorsement of SAGE’s advice, and a subsequent change to HPV vaccination guidelines. In light of this, CCAE conducted a ‘temperature check’ survey, to understand how network organizations were engaging with the shift to single dose and if they would value any support from CCAE on the matter. 

The survey was completed by 14 network organizations, and there was consensus in many of the responses. For example, there were shared opinions particularly around gaps in guidelines and implementation strategies at the country level, which were both considered barriers to the successful implementation of single-dose vaccination programs. Similarly, concerns around the effectiveness of single-dose schedules have been heard by numerous organisations, reflecting the need for clear and coordinated messaging on the shift.  

These survey responses, and our analysis of them, can be found here. They will be used to inform CCAE’s strategy for 2023, and the details of this will be shared in the first quarter of 2023. 

In the meantime, there are several network organizations doing fantastic work to provide insight on the shift to single-dose, including PATH

Their suite of resources on current evidence for single-dose HPV vaccination is considered the standard on the topic; providing both high-level and in-depth information on HPV and cervical cancer, HPV vaccines, and the potential impact of a single-dose regimen. 

Links to the resources in both French and English are listed below. 



World Cancer Congress Special Working Meeting on HPV Vaccination Report

Since the start of the pandemic and the launch of the Global Strategy, opportunities for collaborative in-person discussion have been limited in global health communities, and the cervical cancer community has been no exception. With international travel now permitted for many of our network, the CCAE co-chairs were delighted to host a working meeting, with support from UICC, at the 2022 World Cancer Congress in Geneva, thereby providing that opportunity for partners and advocates to unite.

“We must seize this opportunity. The WHO strategy was agreed upon, in no small part, due to the collective efforts of civil society. We will need a similar concerted and collective effort to turn the strategy into reality.”

Meeting Participant

The meeting was focused on identifying the key advocacy priorities for attaining global equitable access to HPV vaccination. The CCAE co-chairs came away from the discussion with a wealth of

 ideas and insight on unified approaches to HPV vaccination advocacy, and this has been worked up into the World Cancer Congress Special Working Meeting on HPV Vaccination Report. 

There was another clear takeaway from bringing civil society organizations and advocates together in this way; in order to achieve equitable access to the HPV vaccine for all adolescent girls, we must continue to collaborate on collective action. By unifying the voices of the community, we can work with policymakers and influential populations more efficiently and effectively, to ensure that girls everywhere are protected against cervical cancer.   

CCAE will be moving forward using insights gained from the report to build out a collaboration-focused strategy for 2023/24.

One step closer to single dose


In April, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) came to the agreement that a single dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine delivers a comparable level of protection against HPV infection – the prerequisite to cervical cancer – as two doses of HPV vaccine. 

In June, the WHO’s Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) reported on SAGE’s recommendation that a single- or two-dose HPV vaccination schedule is suitable for the majority of girls and women aged 9-20 years. The WER stated that the single-dose option is ‘recommended from a public health perspective’ for routine and multi-cohort catch-up vaccinations. 

Previous guidance stipulated that two doses of the HPV vaccine should be given to females with healthy immune systems younger than 15 years of age, and three doses should be given to females who are either 15 years of age or older or without healthy immune systems. 

The WHO’s decision to update their guidance on HPV vaccination regimens – and endorse a reduction in the number of vaccine doses required – was informed by the findings of research studies published over the last three years. These studies collectively demonstrate the immune response of a single dose of HPV vaccine and its efficacy in preventing HPV infection. 

This new guidance is a huge step towards our shared vision of ensuring that cervical cancer is eliminated within the lifetime of today’s girls, and has been welcomed by many in the community.

Our partners, PATH, have also confirmed that they will be switching to single-dose schedules with their delivery partners who are providing HPV vaccinations. Gavi, meanwhile, have confirmed that they will support countries hoping to transition to single-dose strategies.

Current global levels of HPV vaccine coverage are vastly inequitable. Whilst 85% of high-income countries had integrated HPV vaccines into national immunisation programmes by 2020, fewer than 25% of low-income countries had done the same.  

This has been, in part, attributed to insufficient supplies of HPV vaccines to meet the global demand and the comparatively high cost of the vaccine. If countries across the world switch to a single dose of the vaccine for girls with healthy immune systems, the number of vaccine doses required globally could be reduced; alleviating supply constraints. Similarly, requiring only one HPV vaccine for the majority of girls could see HPV vaccination programmes becoming more affordable and feasible for lower-income countries.

Fewer numbers of doses could also help advance HPV vaccination catch-up and outreach programmes. However, hard-to-reach groups, such as girls out of school and those in remote areas, must be given additional opportunities through such programmes to access the vaccines and avoid missing out on immunisation. Without this, it will not be possible to universally improve uptake within nations and reduce disparities for vulnerable girls.  

The HPV vaccine is safe and highly effective in preventing cervical cancer. In addition to cervical screening, it is a crucial measure to prevent the development of cervical cancer. With this new guidance, we hope that all adolescent girls globally will be able to access this HPV vaccination, in order to equitably reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer around the world.  

PATH resources 

Our partners, PATH, are developing a number of informative resources on the shift to single-dose regimens for HPV vaccines. These will be live on PATH’s website shortly, and we will share links to the resources when they become publicly available.

Collaborating for best practice: FIGO’s vaccination workshop 

Earlier this month, CCAE’s co-chair, Cancer Research UK, attended a workshop hosted by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). The event served to bring together medical, policy and technical implementation professionals from across the world to discuss means of sustainably implementing vaccination programmes for women. Through these conversations, delegates contributed to the discussions of best practice strategies on HPV vaccination programme implementation. FIGO will flesh out these initial suggestions in collaboration with members throughout their global community, before publishing official recommendations for all HPV programme developers and deliverers around the world. 

It was a privilege to learn of the diverse experiences of researchers, advocates, and implementers across the globe, all committed to eliminating cervical cancer. By listening to the stories and studies of fellow delegates, and sharing our own insights, CCAE hopes to support the creation and implementation of strategies that will see every girl vaccinated against HPV before she turns 15. 

The timing of developing HPV vaccination programmes, and delivering them well, has never been more crucial. With new HPV vaccines making their way through approval, and the WHO’s endorsement of single dose regimens, we are at an opportune moment to make the HPV vaccine accessible to more girls than ever before.  

Click here to find out more about FIGO’s global approach to HPV vaccination and cervical cancer. 

Race to None: TogetHER for Health’s fight to eliminate cervical cancer

Written by Tom Harmon, External Affairs Director at TogetHER for Health

It seems hard to believe, but 2022 marks five years since TogetHER for Health was formed to drive awareness and action to end cervical cancer, everywhere. In these five years, we’ve seen the movement to eliminate this preventable disease gain momentum and strength.

TogetHER exists because we believe that our mission is both urgent and achievable. For the first time in history, we are on a path to permanently end a cancer. Your partnership can make cervical cancer elimination a reality – below are several ways you can support this global movement. 


Single-dose of HPV vaccine: a “game-changer”

On 4th-7th April, the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) came to the agreement that a single dose of HPV vaccine delivers a level of protection against HPV infection that is comparable to two-dose HPV vaccine schedules. This is a huge step towards our shared vision of ensuring that girls globally grow up protected from cervical cancer.

This decision was made in consideration of evidence published over the last three years, demonstrating the immune responses of single doses of HPV vaccines, and their efficacy in preventing HPV infection.


Transforming Awareness into Action for Cervical Cancer Elimination

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the impact cervical cancer has on women, families, and communities around the world.

Our organizations – Cervical Cancer Action for Elimination and TogetHER for Health – are committed to driving awareness of the lives affected by this preventable disease, and the opportunities to change those stories.

In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) outlined a plan to eliminate cervical cancer. This is an unprecedented opportunity: the first-ever chance to globally eliminate a cancer. To put all countries on the path towards elimination, the following targets have been set for 2030:

  • Vaccinating 90% of girls against cervical cancer-causing strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) by 15 years of age, vaccines which have been proven to reduce incidence of cervical cancer by nearly 90%;
  • Screening 70% of women at ages 35 and 45 for precancerous cervical lesions, an intervention that can result in an 80% reduction in cervical cancer mortality; and
  • Treating 90% of those women identified with cervical disease, including 90% of women with pre-cancer and 90% of women with invasive cancer.


HPV vaccine shown to reduce cervical cancer

It’s official: the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents cervical cancer.

The world has known for several years that the HPV vaccine is effective in preventing the occurrence of certain HPV infections, as well as preventing the changes in cells that can precede cervical cancer. But up until recently, the world’s first groups of HPV vaccinated girls had not been old enough to see any impact of the vaccine on the numbers of women developing cervical cancer. As the first vaccinated cohorts are now reaching their late 20s – when the risk of cervical cancer would usually increase – and they are old enough to enter cervical screening programmes, the impact is starting to be recognised at the real-world level. With data now coming in, two recent studies have shown for the first time that the HPV vaccine does, indeed, protect against cervical cancer.

In October 2020, a study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden used medical registry data to compare the incidence of cervical cancer in women who had the HPV vaccine when they were girls, against women who didn’t have the vaccine when they were girls. The study found that women who had been vaccinated against HPV have a 47 in 100,000 chance of developing cervical cancer in contrast to women who have not been vaccinated against HPV, who have a 97 in 100,000 chance of developing the disease. They concluded that HPV vaccination almost halves individuals’ chances of developing cervical cancer.


Welcome to CCAE Network’s very first blog post!

Over the years, CCA (and now CCAE) has strived to amplify the stories and successes of cervical cancer advocates and survivors across the globe. CCAE makes every effort to share these items faithfully and powerfully, and does so with the aim of inspiring and empowering peers in the fight to end cervical cancer.

A lot of this content has been shared via CCAE social media channels, newsletters, or on partners’ websites and, as a result, the messaging has reached wide and diverse audiences far beyond our core community.

The CCAE Network is currently in the process of re-evaluating its approach to knowledge exchange and advocate support. It’s been recognised that – in addition to using these valuable platforms – it would be beneficial to have a collective repository for these pieces to enable easy knowledge-sharing and quick action. By doing this, your resources and stories will continue being as useful as possible for as long as possible. And, as current best practices advance, the work we document here will become something we can look back on in the coming months and years to see how far we have come.

So for now, we welcome you to CCAE’s new blog, and ask you to stay tuned and contribute to this space. We’re confident that together, we can continue to share guidance, champion, raise awareness of and ultimately unite the work of our community. We can and we will eliminate cervical cancer in the lifetime of today’s youngest girl!