Avatar photo

By Editorial staff


HPV anti-vaxxers are risking girls’ lives

WHO warns of HPV's deadly impact in low- and middle-income countries, while conspiracy theories hinder vaccine efforts, risking lives.

There is a quiet, but deadly, epidemic affecting people in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organisation.

An estimated 300 000-plus people will die from it annually.

And, tragically, it is not as well-known as it should be and, worse, conspiracy theorists are hindering efforts to administer a vaccine which can dramatically reduce infection and mortality.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer, the fourth-most common cancer in the world.

The death rate exceeds 50% and the virus is still a major threat to public health across the planet.

ALSO READ: Sex education: HPV a risk for both sexes

There is a vaccine that is very effective in preventing infection by the most virulent strains of HPV.

The jabs should ideally be administered to girls between the ages of nine and 15 and before they become sexually active.

But the pushback against vaccines of any kind – which was once restricted to extremists but has, since Covid, become much more mainstream – means that some parents are refusing to give permission to have their young daughters vaccinated.

The efficacy and safety of this vaccine has been proved beyond doubt and parents are risking the futures of their daughters by refusing to allow it.

That, we think, is bordering on criminal.

ALSO READ: Hopes for anti-vaxxers not to disturb HPV vaccination campaign

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits