HPV vaccination program delayed

SEVENTH-GRADE GIRLS::HPA official Wu Chien-yuan said a delay in flu shots led to concerns over how safe it would be to receive two vaccines in a short period

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Sep 03, 2018 - Page 3

A program to provide government-funded Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccinations to seventh-grade girls will be postponed to December, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said.

The vaccines protect against a group of more than 100 viruses, of which at least 13 are cancer-causing and two cause 70 percent of cervical cancers and precancerous cervical lesions, with the viruses mainly transmitted through sexual contact.

The HPA in February said it budgeted about NT$250 million (US$8.14 million) to fund an HPV vaccination program with plans to start in November.

However, due to challenges during the procurement process and a delay in the government-funded flu vaccinations, the HPV program has been postponed to December, the HPA said.

There was only one bidder over three rounds of tenders for the HPV vaccine and a price could not be agreed on, so a new tender is planned this month, HPA Cancer Prevention Section Director Wu Chien-yuan (吳建遠) said last week.

There are more bidders this time and hopefully the procurement process will succeed, Wu said.

In addition, as the flu vaccine program is to begin in the middle of next month, there are concerns over whether it is safe for people to receive different vaccines in a such a short time, which prompted the delay, she said.

The HPA said about 260 million HPV vaccine shots have been administered worldwide since 2006 and a study by the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, an advisory body to the WHO, showed that the allergic reaction rate to the vaccine is about 1.7 cases per 1 million doses.

About 800,000 HPV vaccinations have been administered in Taiwan since 2006, with 167 reports of possible adverse reactions, Ministry of Health and Welfare data showed.

Among the 167 cases, 14 were applications for drug injury relief and four received compensation after a Centers for Disease Control review could not exclude the possibility that the allergic reaction was not caused by the vaccine.