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HPV vaccination:Our viewpoints on the HPV (Human Pappiloma Virus) vaccination−For all those considering HPV vaccination


In October 2009, The HPV vaccine was approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and has been launched in Japan. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have the potential to prevent cervical cancer by preventing HPV infection.

The Vaccination Division of the Infectious Diseases Subcommittee, the Health Science Council, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare established the working group consisting of specialists working in different areas in health care to discuss introducing 8 different vaccines, including haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), pneumococcal, HPV, chikenpox, mumps, hepatitis B, polio and pertussis vaccines, into routine immunization schedule. The Vaccination Division also discuss public expenditure on those vaccines. There are several controversial aspects of routine immunization with HPV vaccine under the preventive vaccinations law.

Given those situations, we developed and released the position statement on the HPV vaccine to guarantee patients' right of self decision making on November 16th 2010. Based on the deliberated and assembled information on the HPV vaccine, it consists of the most basic and important information that should be given to those considering HPV vaccination:

HPV vaccines have shown efficacy in preventing HPV infection. Current vaccines are, however, only effective against specific subtypes of HPV (such as types 16 and 18; they accounts for 70 to 80% of HPV that increases the risk of cervical cancer). The efficacy of the vaccine against the remaining 20 to 30% of HPV types has not been verified. Regular cervical cancer screening is a necessity for women because vaccination not following regular screening is insufficient to reduce the risk of death from cervical cancer. If the vaccine would be widely used without the basic and important information, cervical cancer screening rates might decrease further. It would be contrary to the original aim of the vaccine: to reduce the risk of death from cervical cancer.

In addition, as there is the other issues on the efficacy of the HPV vaccines (please refer to the full text of the position statement), the national government, local public entities, pharmaceutical companies and medical facilities need to provide the enough information on effectiveness and safety of HPV vaccine to the public for the guarantee of patients' right of self decision making. Also the information system must be established for the achievement of the purpose. Furthermore some approaches to increase cervical cancer screening rates would be needed.

We would like to see the implementation of the system for the cervical cancer screening and the information providing system.

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