Updated Saturday, September 17, 2022 –
Silvia de Sanjos, from ISGlobal, argues that “if there are three communities that do it, that puts pressure on those that don’t”, who will end up adopting it
- Immunization Vaccines against HPV also for children, a sexually transmitted infection to which 90% of adults are exposed
- Health Herd immunity to HPV, the vaccine protects even the unvaccinated
What Galicia began to vaccinate on Thursday (September 15) against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to 12-year-old childrenthus being the first autonomous community to extend to boys the immunization that until now has only been recommended for girls of that age in Spain, and that soon Catalonia and the Valencian Community will also do so, could cause a domino effect in the rest of the autonomous communities. That would happen regardless of the decision that is finally adopted in the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, because it has already happened with, for example, the meningitis vaccine, which began to be used in Asturias. This is what Silvia de Sanjos believes, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and one of the national leaders in HPV. “If there are three communities that do it, that puts pressure on those that don’t,” which will end up adopting it, she says.
Consulted by this newspaper about the initiative of these three autonomous communities to make this vaccine universal (for girls and boys 12 years of age) within their respective vaccination schedules, it states that a single strategy for all of Spain would be better: “It is incongruous that in the same country there are different preventive health policies”.
And remember that it is not uncommon that, following recommendations from the Ministry of Health, communities incorporate them at different speeds. He gives as an example the detection of HPV in the cytologies that are performed on women periodically and the screening for colon cancer. These improvements in the portfolio of services of the National Health System and in public health are usually implemented at different times in the autonomous communities, thereby causing inequality between communities.
Sanjos points out that HPV vaccination in 12-year-old boys has always been considered a second priority, but defends that, if boys and girls can be vaccinated, it is much better because this increases the preventive capacity of immunization. In girls, the HPV vaccine offers greater individual benefit, while in men it contributes to reaching group immunity (general population) earlier, the expert highlights. “Vaccinating a girl has the same impact on health as vaccinating two boys.”
The positive impact has so far been shown in genital warts and premalignant lesions, and it is hoped that soon it can also be confirmed in tumors (HPV is oncogenic and is especially related to tumors of the cervix and also of the genitals, anus and head and neck).
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