The Academy of Medicine proposes to extend and encourage vaccination against papillomaviruses for all men and women up to 26 years of age, “to make it possible to eliminate cancers and related diseases more certainly and quickly”, according to a press release Tuesday.
While it welcomes various measures to increase this vaccination, the academy “is concerned” about the cumulative delay since its start in France and defends an extension “practiced in many countries”.
In France, vaccination against these viruses has been recommended for girls aged 11 to 14 since 2007, for boys since 2021, but less than half of adolescents are vaccinated.
“An individual and not a parental decision”
Promised at the beginning of 2023 by Emmanuel Macrona vaccination campaign for 5th grade middle school students started at the beginning of October. The first results are lower than the 30% hoped for the first season.
As part of a catch-up, vaccination is also recommended for both sexes between the ages of 15 and 19, and up to 26 years of age only for men who have sex with men or immunocompromised patients.
“An extension of vaccination to adulthood up to 26 years for both sexes would represent an individual and not a parental decision”, without the possible related brakes, and several elements justify it, estimates the Academy of Medicine.
The risk of infection by papillomaviruses continues throughout life in both sexes, and 50% of cervical cancers are due to infections contracted after the age of 20, she suggests.
Responsible for 6,000 cancers each year
“If the benefit of vaccination is optimal for uninfected people, it remains important for infected people,” the academy also argues.
And several studies show the effectiveness of the vaccine between 16 and 26 years of age on precancerous lesions and genital warts in women and men, as well as its good tolerance, according to its press release.
Each year in France, human papillomaviruses are responsible for more than 6,000 new cases of cancer, most often of the cervix, vulva or vagina, but also ENT, anus or penis.