China To Proceed With Cancer Preventing HPV Vaccinations

HPV vaccination will be promoted among targeted China populations
Chinese floating candles
China (Vax Before Travel)

China announced it will accelerate the examination and approval of domestic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and increase public access to the vaccines to protect the people against cervical cancer.

In a statement published by on September 24, 2019, a plan for cancer prevention jointly issued by 10 government departments including the National Health Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission, said efforts will be made to promote HPV vaccination among target populations and open more channels for people from poverty-stricken areas to be immunized.

‘It is expected that by 2022 early diagnosis and standard treatment of cancer in China can be greatly advanced, and the 5-year survival rate of cancer patients can rise by 3 percentage points compared with 2015,’ reported

According to Hao Jie, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the 5-year survival rate of cancer patients in China was 40.5 percent in 2015, compared with about 31 percent in 2005.

‘HPV is believed to be the main cause of cervical and vaginal cancers, and can affect both men and women,’ said Lei Chengzhi, an expert at the National Cancer Center.

‘People can prevent HPV infection by getting vaccinated at an appropriate age,’ said Lei.

The HPV is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and most people are infected with HPV shortly after the onset of sexual activity.

There are more than 100 types of HPV, of which at least 14 are cancer-causing, Two HPV types (16 and 18) cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cervical lesions, says the World Health Organization.

Historically, China's HPV vaccination rate is relatively low due to a lack of awareness and inadequate vaccine supply.

Every year in China, about 3.8 million people are diagnosed with cancer and about 2.3 million people die from it.

A March 2018 article reported by Xinhuanet, the China Food and Drug Administration approved Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine for sale in 2017.

Gardasil, which protects against 4 types of HPV, can be given to people aged 20 to 45.

Merck previously said in April 2019 ‘it will distribute 5.51 billion Chinese yuan (US$790 million) worth of the Gardasil HPV vaccine products to China in 2019 and 8.33 billion yuan (US$1.20 billion) in 2020, according to disclosures from Merck’s China distribution partner, Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products. 

The first HPV vaccine introduced in China was Cervarix, available for anyone aged 9 to 25, which can protect against HPV 16 and 18. 

Domestic vaccine manufacturers are expected to strengthen independent research and help expand HPV vaccine coverage in rural areas through the implementation of the plan, concluded the statement.

Zhao Ping, president of the Cancer Foundation of China, said ‘improving (cancer) prevention is the key.’

In addition, ‘training of doctors in rural areas of China should be intensified to improve their ability for early diagnosis of cancer and reduce misdiagnosis, which is very important to improving the overall survival rate’ Zhao said.

HPV Cancer news published by Precision Vaccinations