In a study conducted by members of the School of Public Health at Harvard University (Boston, USA), and published in the journal British Medical Journal, the costs and benefits of vaccinating only girls against the papillomavirus, or extending the administration of the vaccine to all preadolescents are compared.
Since the approval of the first vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in 2006, it has been included in the vaccination calendar of the different Autonomous Communities, because this virus causes the majority of cases of cervical cancer in many countries. , including Spain.
Knowing that this infection, also responsible for genital warts, is transmitted sexually, the researchers wanted to know if it would reduce the risk of infection by also vaccinating men.
As a result, it was found that the benefits in quality and price do not increase or improve when vaccinating men as well. Therefore, according to the study, it is not worthwhile to immunize men as well.
What is relevant is that preadolescent girls around the world are vaccinated, since more than 80% of cervical cancers occur in developing countries, where the population at risk has very limited access to the vaccine.
Why experts recommend vaccination
The Spanish Association of Pediatrics introduces the HPV vaccine in the vaccination calendar of 2008, and recommends vaccinating all girls from 11 years of age and at least until 16, at first. The reasons that the experts adduce to vaccinate the minors are the following:
- Using condoms does not completely prevent infection.
- It is more likely to get the infection if sexual intercourse starts early.
- Teenagers are more susceptible to infection, and to that it becomes chronic, than adult women.
- The vaccine is more effective in children under 15 years of age than in adults.
- There is better compliance with the vaccination calendar in children, than in adolescents and adults.