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India To Launch HPV Vaccination Drive to Combat Cervical Cancer

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India is taking a major stride in the fight against cervical cancer by launching an extensive Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign targeting girls aged 9-14. The immunization effort, unfolding in three phases, has over 7 crore doses prepared for the initial stage.

Cervical cancer, currently the second leading cause of cancer among women in India, is set to become a key focus of the government’s immunization program. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks cervical cancer as the fourth most common cancer, underscoring the need for urgent preventive measures.

The HPV vaccine, commercially available for around ₹2,000 per dose, not only fights cervical cancer but also addresses related malignancies affecting the anus, vagina, and oropharynx. Additionally, the vaccine provides protection against strains causing genital warts, offering a comprehensive shield against various health risks associated with HPV.

India, contributing to about a fifth of the world’s cervical cancer cases, is experiencing a concerning rise in cancer incidence. The government’s decision to incorporate cervical cancer into its immunization program aligns with the broader goal of making the vaccine accessible to everyone. Plans to offer the vaccine free of charge aim to ensure that financial constraints do not hinder access to this crucial preventive measure.

By targeting the 9-14 age group, the campaign aims to establish immunity early on, potentially reducing the burden of cervical cancer in the coming years.

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