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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.

SAGE have recommended that ‘one or two’ doses are given to girls aged 9-14, whilst two or three doses are given to immunocompromised individuals. The WHO plan to update their guidelines in accordance with this SAGE recommendation, pending consultation with invited stakeholders.

By reducing the number of vaccine doses required by each girl or woman, the updated regimen could help alleviate the current supply constraints restricting global access to the HPV vaccine, and could make HPV vaccination programmes more affordable and feasible for lower-income countries. The lower number of doses could also help advance HPV vaccination catch-up programmes, borne out of the pandemic, and minimise the need to contact-trace recipients for their second HPV dose.

With World Immunization Week approaching, and this year’s Week themed towards ‘a long life well-lived’, we want to re-emphasise our commitment to standing with our partners and advocating for equitable access to the HPV vaccine.