Argentina's Successful Implementation Of A National Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Program
Every year around fourteen million people globally are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), the sexually transmitted virus that is the cause of most cervical cancers. A number of vaccines have been developed to protect against HPV, but in many countries, HPV vaccination rates have been low compared with rates for other recommended vaccines. Parental concerns, cost, and lack of information and awareness among both health professionals and parents are cited as important barriers to HPV vaccination. In Argentina the HPV vaccine has been provided to all eleven-year-old girls since 2011 as part of a comprehensive national program to prevent cervical cancer. Coverage increased from negligible levels before 2011 to a national average of 87.9 percent for the first dose, 71.6 percent for the second dose, and 52.2 percent for the third dose in 2013. There was a large variance in HPV vaccine coverage across the country's provinces. This article describes key strategies to overcome barriers to implementation of HPV vaccination and provides recommendations for policy makers.