The vaccine against papilloma may prevent a considerable portion of the 200 or so cases of cervical cancer that are diagnosed every year in Israel, and of the 100 or so cases of mortality from this cancer. Furthermore, the vaccine is expected to prevent in excess of approximately 5,000 cases of pre-cancerous cervical lesions annually. These cases require further investigation and even treatment which could even cause impaired fertility in certain cases; thus the vaccine’s effect is expected within a short time.
In view of publications and reports that have appeared recently, the Ministry of Health has carried out a reassessment of the inclusion of the papilloma vaccine in the routine vaccines given in Israel. This assessment included an extensive survey of the literature and consultation with professional parties: the Advisory Committee for Infectious Diseases and Vaccines, the National Council for Gynecology, the National Council for Women’s Health, the Israel Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Israel Pediatric Association, the Israel Society of Family Medicine, the Israel Association of Infectious Diseases. Additionally, international parties were consulted, and an ultimate discussion was conducted in the Administration of the Ministry of Health.
The conclusions of this thorough investigation are as follows:
Papilloma vaccines are approved for use in 127 countries in the world, are included in the routine vaccination program in 46 countries, and some 175 million doses have so far been given. Three leading health organizations in the world (the World Health Organization [WHO], the US Centers for Disease Control [CDC] and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics [FIGO]) have conducted surveys of the safety of papilloma virus vaccine in the past few months, and all three have unreservedly confirmed the safety of the vaccine.
In December 2012, the health authorities in England published a summary of four years of the administration of the papilloma virus vaccine, in which 6 million doses were given in the framework of routine school vaccines, with no adverse reports of side-effects.
Scrutiny of the recent reports of side-effects, as well as additional reports in the medical literature that have surveyed the topic, reveal that apart from their occurrence within a short time, no epidemiological basis was found to link them to the administration of the vaccine, and that they are not a basis for changing vaccinations policy.
All the Israeli associations mentioned above have expressed their support for the inclusion of the vaccine against the papilloma virus in the routine vaccines in Israel.
In view of the above, the Ministry of Health has made the following decisions:
- The vaccine against the papilloma virus will be included as planned, in accordance with the recommendation Health Basket Committee, in the routine vaccines in Israel, starting from the current academic year (2013-2014).
- Parents of female school students will receive a detail explanation sheet.
- Medical staff will receive guidelines and clarifications regarding administration of the vaccine at each relevant age.
- The Ministry of Health will, as usual, accordingly perform periodic situation assessments.