Author(s): Kane MA
Development of safe and effective vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV)-the second vaccine against a major human cancer-is one of the most important medical and public health achievements of this century. As with all new vaccines, HPV is currently expensive and this cost precludes its use in the developing world, which has the greatest burden of disease from HPV-related cancers. Hepatitis B (HB) virus vaccine, which prevents chronic HB infection and related cirrhosis and liver cancer, has been successfully introduced as a routine vaccine for children in 89% of countries, including the poorest. The success of this vaccine provides a model for the introduction of HPV vaccine and control of cervical and other HPV-related cancers and genital warts. Lessons learned from HB vaccine introduction are relevant to our efforts to introduce HPV vaccine globally. As with HB vaccine, introduction of HPV vaccine into national immunization programs and routine use of this vaccine, funded by governments, will be needed to control HPV-related disease on a global basis. Global funding support will be needed to make control a reality for the poorest countries, and the program to accomplish this, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), has already expressed great interest in including HPV vaccine. For this to occur, the manufacturers will need to dramatically reduce the vaccine price for the poorest developing countries, and tier prices for wealthier developing countries not eligible for GAVI support. Countries will need to decide on the priority of HPV control in the context of other important new vaccines against pneumococcal pneumonia and rotavirus diarrhea.