The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine is now available in Barbados in a single-dose schedule.
This announcement from the Ministry of Health and Wellness comes following the conclusion by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) that a single-dose Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine delivers solid protection against HPV which is comparable to the two-dose schedules.
HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer.
The conclusion was made following a meeting of SAGE in April 2022, to look at evidence from an updated systematic review on the immunogenicity, efficacy and effectiveness of single-dose vaccination schedules compared to no vaccination and to multi-dose schedules.
Cervical cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in women in Barbados, and results from persistent infection in the cervix with high-risk strains of the HPV.
In 2014, the HPV vaccine was introduced into the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) targeting children at the 11-plus age range as the risk of HPV infection is considered high among the adolescent and young adult population.
This vaccine is not mandatory, but is given with the consent of a parent.
In addition to the reduction in morbidity and mortality associated with the HPV, the adoption of this new schedule will help to reduce the cost of the HPV vaccine campaign.
HPV vaccine is administered at all polyclinics at no charge to patients. It may also be accessed in the private healthcare sector, through some paediatricians and general practitioners. (PR/SAT)