A vaccine against papillomavirus (HPV) infections.

A vaccine against papillomavirus (HPV) infections. — Joe Raedle GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

The papillomavirus is responsible each year for more than 6,000 new cases of cancer and France is very behind in vaccination. This Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron announced the implementation of a “generalized” free vaccination campaign in colleges for 5th graders in order to eradicate the papillomavirus.

“We are going to generalize from the start of the next school year for the 5th grade”, indicated the Head of State during a meeting with students in a college in Jarnac (Charente). “This helps prevent a lot of cancers,” added Emmanuel Macron. The announcements come four days before World Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Disease Awareness Day.

Totally eliminable cancers

Extremely frequent, these infections are most of the time benign, but they can persist and lead to cancer: HPVs are responsible for 2,900 cancers of the cervix causing more than 1,000 deaths per year, 1,500 cancers of the ENT sphere, 1,500 cancers of the anus, 200 cancers of the vulva or vagina and a hundred cancers of the penis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these cancers can be completely eliminated through screening and vaccination.

At the end of 2021, 45.8% of 15-year-old girls had received a dose of vaccine, and only 6% of boys of the same age, while the ten-year cancer control strategy 2021-2030 aims for a target of 80% here seven years. Vaccination is now recommended for girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 14. It can also be offered as a catch-up until the age of 19 and remains possible until the age of 26 for men who have sex with men.

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