Cervical cancer, a pressing concern for Indian women, is combatable with HPV vaccines. Learn about options, costs, and governmental initiatives, empowering a preventive approach for a healthier tomorrow.
New Delhi, February 03, 2024: Cervical cancer, a prevalent health concern for women in India, is largely attributed to the high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV). However, the advent of HPV vaccines has become a formidable weapon in the battle against this disease.
In the Indian context, where more than 90% of cervical cancer cases are linked to HPV, the availability of vaccines marks a significant stride in preventive healthcare. Dr. Tanaya Narendra emphasizes the simplicity of a vaccine shot that can safeguard against the second most common cancer in Indian women.
Cervical Cancer Vaccines and Options
- Gardasil 9: The most renowned vaccine, offering protection against nine HPV types responsible for the majority of related cancers. Approved for both males and females aged 9 to 45, priced at Rs 10,850 per dose.
- Gardasil: Targeting four HPV strains, available in India since 2008, priced between Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per dose.
- Cervavac: India’s first HPV vaccine by the Serum Institute, approved for girls and boys aged 9 to 26. Priced at Rs 4,000 for a two-dose vial, showing high efficacy against HPV types 16 and 18.
Free Cervical Cancer Vaccine: Government Initiatives
The Indian government has taken commendable steps to enhance accessibility to these vaccines. Several states, including Punjab, Sikkim, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra, have initiated free HPV vaccination programs for school girls in specific districts as part of pilot projects.
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended the inclusion of the HPV vaccine in the universal immunization program, targeting adolescent girls aged 9 to 14, with routine introduction at nine years of age.
Free Cervical Cancer Vaccine: Financial Support and Encouragement
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during her interim Budget 2024-25 speech in Parliament, highlighted the government’s encouragement for girls aged 9 to 14 to receive the HPV vaccine, reinforcing the commitment to cervical cancer prevention.
While the recommended age for HPV vaccination starts from 9 years old for both boys and girls, the ideal candidates are those who have not yet been exposed to the virus, typically before becoming sexually active.
In the battle against cervical cancer, the availability, affordability, and governmental support for HPV vaccines signify a significant stride towards a healthier future for women in India.