The state must go beyond recently announced measures to expedite HPV vaccination, several physician and patient representatives warned Monday. The eradication of cancers linked to the papillomavirus (HPV) is "a French battle that remains to be waged", summarize the signatories of an appeal which brings together, among others, the National Academy of Medicine, the main learned societies concerned (cancerology, paediatrics...) and patient associations.
HPV infections, mostly sexually transmitted, are generally not serious, but they can persist and lead to cancer: HPVs are responsible for 6,000 cancers per year in France, half of which concern the cervix. Vaccination during adolescence can prevent most of these cancers. But in France, unlike many other countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Australia...), it remains very insufficient: barely more than 40% of 16-year-old girls have been vaccinated and not even 10% of boys.
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The State, through the voice of President Emmanuel Macron, certainly announced at the start of the year a generalized vaccination campaign in colleges, among fifth-grade students. But it remains to be seen how this measure will translate on the ground, while school medicine is severely lacking in resources and many establishments are already unable to meet their obligations in this area.
The announcements of the beginning of the year mark "a strong political will", recognize the signatories of the call on Monday. However, there is “urgency to bring together all the means necessary for the deployment” of the vaccination campaign in colleges, they continue, also noting that this measure cannot be sufficient on its own. “Vaccination in schools will be an essential element but insufficient in isolation”, they insisted, referring to a first experiment carried out in the east of France. "This shows that 20% of parents have consented to the vaccination of their child and only 16% of students have been effectively vaccinated", notes the appeal, citing the need for a "massive information campaign", to caregivers and the general public.
Beyond the campaign in colleges, the signatories are asking for broader measures, such as being able to get vaccinated for free up to the age of 26 for all. Currently, this vaccination is only possible for men having homosexual relations.