The target is to keep the price of indigenous cervical cancer vaccine around Rs 200-400 per dose. Vaccines currently available in the market cost Rs 2,500-3,300 per dose.
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Worldwide cancer The cases are increasing every year. There are many types of cancer, one of them is cervical cancer, which happens to women. Indigenously developed HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer will be available by April-May next year. A nationwide vaccination campaign for this vaccine for girls in the age group of 9-14 years is likely to begin by mid-2023.
Dr NK Arora, chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), said the vaccine, Cervavac, developed by Kisiram Institute of India (SII), provides protection against four strains of HPV virus – 16, 18, 6 and 11. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had earlier said that the vaccine is likely to be priced. The target is to keep the price around Rs 200-400 per dose. Vaccines currently available in the market cost Rs 2,500-3,300 per dose. Because of this, many women are not able to get it fitted.
Sikkim government did vaccination on a large scale
Dr Arora said that the Sikkim government procured vaccines from GAVI in 2016 and started a program vaccinating about 97% of girls between the ages of 9 and 14 in a campaign mode. Now they are doing it as a part of routine immunization and the coverage has reached around 88-90%.
Learning from the experience of Sikkim, girls aged 9-14 years should first be vaccinated against HPV in campaign mode, followed by inclusion of the vaccine as part of routine immunization for nine-year-olds.
The Delhi government also launched an HPV vaccination program around the same time, it was not as successful as vaccines were available in only one of the state government-run hospitals.
vaccination at school level
Dr. Arora said that when we talk about the target population of the vaccine, they are all children of school going age. When we go to single-age group, it can be given in primary school, where enrollment is more than 90%. But we have to look beyond that, we have to reach out to girls who are not even in school.
One in every 53 women has cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is a fatal disease. According to the NCBI report, one out of every 53 women in the country gets cervical cancer. Cases of this cancer are also being reported around the age of 30. Most of the cases come from rural areas. Due to lack of knowledge of symptoms, most of the cases of cervical cancer are reported in advanced stage.
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