Scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and partner institutions conducted a study to estimate the effectiveness of a vaccination programme against human papillomavirus (HPV) that was implemented in Bhutan in 2010 for girls aged 12–18 years and achieved almost 90% coverage of the target population. The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers used data from two cross-sectional surveys, conducted in 2011–2012 and in 2018, which enabled them to examine responses in more than 3000 participants. The presence of HPV DNA was assessed in cervical cell samples from sexually active women aged 17–29 years to estimate age- and sexual behaviour-adjusted overall, total, and indirect (herd immunity) HPV vaccine effectiveness. The researchers found that the prevalence of vaccine-targeted HPV types decreased sharply between the two surveys.
The results of this study are extremely important because they provide the first evidence of the effectiveness of a high-coverage national HPV vaccination programme in a lower-middle-income country.
In a video published on the Annals of Internal Medicine website, Dr Iacopo Baussano, the study’s lead author, explains the main findings and the impact of the study.
Baussano I, Tshomo U, Tenet V, Heideman DAM, Wangden T, Franceschi S, Clifford GM.
Prevalence of human papillomavirus and estimation of human papillomavirus vaccine effectiveness in Thimphu, Bhutan, in 2011–2012 and 2018
Annals of Internal Medicine, Published online 22 September 2020;