All you need to know about India’s inclusion of cervical cancer vaccine in the Universal Immunization Programme

By Team TA

India has the highest number of cervical cancer cases according to a study published in The Lancet, followed by China. The central government has taken the initiative to introduce the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme for young girls in schools.

Here is all you need to know:

1. A study published in The Lancet showed that India accounts for the highest number of cervical cancer cases in Asia. More than 58% of all cases of cervical cancer and deaths globally were estimated in Asia with India accounting for 21% of cases and 23% of deaths.

2. Cervical cancer is a preventable and treatable cancer. It is caused by infection with the HPV and there are vaccines which protect against carcinogenic HPV.

3. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the WHO has specified that countries must reach and maintain an incidence rate of fewer than 4 new cases of cervical cancer per 1,00,000 women a year.

4. To achieve that goal, it is necessary that 90% of girls will have to be fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by the age of 15.

5. Central government has announced that it will roll out vaccination for girls aged between 9 and 14 years through schools. To battle cervical cancer, India is expected to roll out the indigenously developed Cervavac vaccine by mid-2023.

6. The vaccine will be included in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). UIP is one of the largest public health programmes targeting over 2 crore newborns and 2 crore pregnant women annually and offers free vaccines for at least 12 diseases. 

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