The human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) saves women from cervical cancer as wel as oral, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers.
The HPV vaccine has been studied in depth by reaserchers on more than 2500 samples and it has been seen that on an average there is a 10% drop in infections.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has slashed rates of the HPV strains covered by the vaccine by more than half in teens and by a third among women in their 20s, found a new study — and that’s before the newest vaccine with greater coverage of HPV strains had even been introduced. HPV causes nearly all cervical cancers as well as a proportion of oral, vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancers.
“Women in their teens and twenties are most at risk for these infections, so vaccination is protecting this target population,” said Kevin Ault, MD, FACOG, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Though not involved in this study, Ault’s research focuses on the HPV vaccine and HPV detection. “This is an American study, but you can find similar data from Denmark, Australia and other countries,” he added.
In the study, a team of CDC researchers led by Lauri Markowitz, MD, compared the prevalence of HPV infections in girls and women, ages 14 to 34, before and after the vaccine’s introduction. They used data from an ongoing national survey which also collected cervical-vaginal samples swabbed from the female participants. These samples were analyzed for the DNA of HPV-6, -11, -16 and -18, the four types covered by the quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil, manufactured by Merck.
The researchers compared samples collected from 2,587 females between 2003 and 2006 — before the vaccine had been recommended — to samples collected from 2,061 females between 2009 and 2012. Among the latter group, about half the girls ages 14-19 and a third of the women ages 20-24 had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The jab prevents infection by the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus, which is behind most cases of the cancer.
The review comes after two recent studies highlighted the potential risks of the HPV jab.
Dr Sarah Branch, of the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said nearly 90 per cent of eligible teenagers had been vaccinated.
She added: ‘With this very high level of uptake, such reports are to be expected. But the vaccine isn’t necessarily the cause.’
GlaxoSmithKline, which makes one vaccine Cervarix, said its safety has been ‘rigorously tested’ and the firm is ‘confident in the benefit-risk profile’.