International travel and health

Human Papillomavirus


Since 2006, two HPV vaccines have been licensed; one vaccine targets four and the other two HPV genotypes. Both vaccines are designed to protect against about 70% of cervical cancer cases worldwide (the tetravalent vaccine also protects against genital warts). Both vaccines are intended to be administered to females before the onset of sexual activity – that is, before first exposure to HPV infection. Most countries that have licensed these vaccines, recommend their use in girls aged 10–14 years. In some countries the tetravalent vaccine is offered to girls as young as 9 years. WHO recommends that routine HPV vaccination be included in national immunization programmes, provided that: prevention of cervical cancer or other HPV-related diseases, or both, constitutes a public health priority; vaccine introduction is programmatically feasible; sustainable financing can be secured; and the costeffectiveness of vaccination strategies in the country or region is considered. The primary target populations are girls within the age range 9-10 to 13 years.

The complete series of quadrivalent vaccine is administered at day 0; 2 months; and 6 months. The bivalent vaccine is administered at day 0; 1 month; and 6 months. Repeating previous doses is not necessary if the three-dose programme has been interrupted. Booster doses are currently not recommended.