The whole country is talking about right now the vaccines against Covid-19 – how well do they protect, when is who’s turn, how many vaccinated people are needed for herd immunity But this attention would also benefit another vaccination: the HPV vaccination. It protects against infection with several types of human papillomavirus (HPV)that among other things cervical cancer can trigger. But although vaccination has been available for many years, Germany is still a long way from herd immunity.
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Since the consequences of infection with HPV are not immediately noticeable, as is the case with an infection with the coronavirus, the threat from HPV remains too abstract for many, so that vaccination is neglected. “Many are not aware that the HPV vaccination can protect children and adolescents from preventable cancer in adulthood,” says Gerd Nettekoven, CEO of Deutsche Krebshilfe. Call for HPV Awareness Day on March 4th the German Cancer Aid and the German Cancer Research Center therefore to vaccination.
Many infections would be preventable
In Germany alone, around 7,700 people are diagnosed with HPV-related cancers every year, of which cervical cancer makes up the majority. What many do not know: Even in men, an infection with HPV can lead to serious illnesses, for example cancer of the mouth or throat, the anus and or Genital area. The HP viruses are often transmitted during the first sexual contact, although condoms only reduce the risk of infection by 50%. According to the Robert Koch Institute 40% of women between the ages of 20-25 are infected with HPV, and in the course of their lives around 80% of sexually active women become infected with HPV at least once. This makes the HP viruses one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.
Germany cannot keep up
In an international comparison, Germany scores poorly with its vaccination quota: just 43% of 15-year-old girls have received protective injections. For comprehensive protection, as is also being sought against the coronavirus, at least 70% would have to be fully vaccinated. In countries like Australia or Sweden, where school vaccination programs have been very successful, the vaccination rate is significantly higher.
What is often forgotten in other countries, too, is the role of men in the whole – after all, they can not only get sick, but primarily act as carriers of the infection. The permanent vaccination committee recommends the HPV vaccination for girls and boys between 9 and 14 years of age. Vaccinations can be made up until the age of 17.