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Data study of HPV immunisation programme

Population study evaluated the effectiveness of the human papillomavirus immunisation programme for girls through comparison of data in the National Survey.


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The UK introduced a human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme for girls in 2008 as a bivalent vaccine protecting for HPV-16/18. HPV-16 and HPV-18 are responsible for over 70% of cervical cancers. In 2012 the programme switched to quadrivalent vaccine (HPV-6/11/16/18) which also protects against genital warts.

This population study evaluated the effectiveness through comparison of data in the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) in 2010-12, with Natsal-2 undertaken in 1999-2001.

Urine samples from 2569 sexually-experienced women age 16-44 (Natsal-3) were tested for HPV and compared with results with 1798 women in Natsal-2. In Natsal-3, 4.2% of women age 16-44 years were positive for HPV-16/18 and 2.9% for HPV-6/11 rising to 4.5% and 10.8% respectively in 16-20 year olds. In addition, 20.7% of 16-20 year olds had at least one HPV type included in a new 9-valent vaccine currently being trialled. 

Only 52% of those age 18-20 had had the three-dose vaccine coverage. In this age group, HPV-16/18 prevalence was lower in Natsal-3 than Natsal-2 (5.8% vs 11.2%), however, prevalence of HPV-6/11 was unchanged, as was HPV-16/18 prevalence in women age 21-44. Reductions in prevalence were found specific to HPV-16/18 and to the age group eligible for vaccination. Substantial vaccine-preventable HPV remains.


Tanton C, Mesher D, Beddows S et al (2017) Human papillomavirus (HPV) in young women in Britain: Population-based evidence of the effectiveness of the bivalent immunisation programme and burden of quadrivalent and 9-valent vaccine types. Papillomavirus Res. 3, 36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.pvr.2017.01.001.

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