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While many European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries recently expanded human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to boys, HPV vaccine supply is currently limited for girls in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) that are severely affected by HPV.

Globally, about 50% of countries have introduced HPV vaccination. Some LMIC with high burden of cervical cancer have not yet introduced HPV vaccination, or are reaching suboptimal vaccination coverage. While WHO issued a call for cervical cancer elimination in 2018, a global shortage of HPV vaccines is currently predicted to last at least until 2024.

We reviewed national policies of EU/EEA countries and recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation to discuss current challenges and dose-sparing options. Several EU/EEA countries have extended HPV vaccination to boys and the European Cancer Organisation has issued a resolution for elimination of all HPV-associated cancers in both sexes. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control concluded in its 2020 guidance that cost-effectiveness of extending routine vaccination to boys depends on several context-specific factors. The extension of HPV vaccination to boys in EU/EEA countries may affect global availability of vaccines. Temporary dose-sparing options could be considered during the COVID-19 post-pandemic period.


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