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Human Papillomavirus: Vaccination

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 27th June 2018.

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Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the efficacy of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programme in women and girls who may already have had exposure to HPV infection, either naturally or as the result of sexual abuse, prior to receiving that vaccine.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have demonstrated very high vaccine efficacy against the vaccine types and related disease in clinical trials when administered to HPV-naïve women (i.e. women with no current or previous vaccine-type HPV infection). However, results from these trials also demonstrated that HPV vaccination of women with a current vaccine-type HPV infection had little or no effect on clearance of the existing infection. There is also some evidence of a slightly reduced vaccine efficacy against pre-cancerous abnormalities among young women currently not infected with HPV but with serological evidence of a previous exposure.

Public Health England has conducted surveillance to monitor the prevalence of type-specific genital HPV infections in 16-24 year old sexually active women in England who would have been eligible to receive the HPV vaccine. The latest data, including specimens collected to the end of 2016, demonstrated a vaccine effectiveness of 82.0% against infections with HPV16/18 among women vaccinated at age 15 years or younger. The vaccine effectiveness in women who would have been vaccinated at age 16 to 18 years old was 48.7%. This suggests that the vaccine works best when given to young girls before they are exposed to HPV. However it also shows that older girls still benefit from vaccination.

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