Policies and processes for human papillomavirus vaccination in Latin America and the Caribbean
Three highly effective vaccines are available to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and they have been introduced in many countries around the world. This article describes advances and challenges in introducing HPV vaccines in the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Methods. We reviewed national and regional sources of information to identify LAC countries with and without universal HPV vaccination, along with the year of introduction, type of HPV vaccine, vaccination scheme, age groups targeted, and coverage level reached. Incidence rates of cervical cancer were compared across countries with and without an HPV vaccination program, in order to identify inequities in access to HPV vaccines. Results. So far, 10 LAC countries have supplied data on their vaccination policies and vaccination coverage rates to the Pan America Health Organization. The majority of those 10 started their vaccination programs using quadrivalent vaccine. Only Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico started their programs using a two-dose scheme. However, by the end of 2016, most of the other countries had switched from a three-dose to a two-dose scheme. Different age groups are targeted in the various programs. Some countries vaccinate one-year birth cohorts, while others vaccinate multiple-year birth cohorts. By the end of 2014, coverage with at least two doses ranged from a low of 2% to a high of 86%. With the exception of Venezuela, the LAC countries with the largest populations introduced universal HPV vaccination between 2010 and 2014. Despite the progress that has occurred in some LAC countries, there are still 10 LAC nations with cervical cancer rates above the LAC average (21.2 cases per 100 000) that have not introduced an HPV vaccine in their EPI. Conclusions. With several key adjustments, HPV vaccination programs across Latin America and the Caribbean could be substantially strengthened. Ongoing monitoring of HPV infection outcomes is needed in order to assess the impact of different vaccination policies.
Rev Panam Salud Publica
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