Planned Parenthood Statement to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on the HPV Vaccine
New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today urged the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to recommend widespread human papilloma virus (HPV) immunization as the path toward eradicating cervical cancer in future generations. PPFA encouraged ACIP to recommend that girls 11 to 12 years of age be vaccinated as a prerequisite to beginning the 7th grade and that all young women up to age 26 who missed the 7th grade inoculation requirement should also be immunized. To ensure that the HPV vaccine will be widely accessible, PPFA asked that the HPV vaccine be included in the Vaccine for Children program. Following is the PPFA statement presented to ACIP today by Emily Stewart, PPFA Regulatory and Policy Analyst.
Remarks of Emily Stewart, Regulatory and Policy Analyst
Before the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
June 29, 2006
It is an honor and a pleasure to represent Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. during this meeting where decisions will be made about who will be able to access the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and external genital warts. My remarks incorporate the comments of Dr. Vanessa Cullins, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dr. Jeffery Waldman, Senior Medical Director for PPFA, both of whom regret that they are unable to attend.
As you are aware, the HPV vaccine-coupled with cervical cancer screening programs, early detection, and treatment-has enormous potential to impact public health. This potential can only be realized if those who need the vaccine are provided access to it. We recognize that enabling easy access to the HPV vaccine is no small feat, but we draw your attention to those immunization strategies that have had the greatest success — that is, those strategies that allow for herd immunity and are executed through a strategy of vaccination of all (such as smallpox), or those that are have been made a prerequisite for school admission. Access to the vaccine should be a public health priority.
Given the high cost of the HPV vaccine-at approximately $360 for the series, it is the most expensive vaccine ever-recommending routine immunization is critical to making the vaccine accessible. By doing so, you ensure coverage by private health insurers and government vaccination programs. In this vein, we strongly encourage you to include the HPV vaccine in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. Under VFC, the HPV vaccine should be made available to all previously unvaccinated youth from 11 through 18 years of age.
Since the childhood immunization schedule is already "crowded" with many required vaccines and because this vaccine is best administered prior to exposure to HPV, we ask that the Committee consider a broad range of eligible criteria for age at vaccination. Specifically, and in order to ensure that girls are vaccinated prior to sexual intimacy, the Committee should recommend that the vaccine be administered to girls 11 to 12 year of age, as a prerequisite to beginning the 7th grade. In addition, all young women up to age 26 who will have missed the 7th grade inoculation requirement should be vaccinated. Also, as more evidence accrues as to the effectiveness of a complimentary vaccination strategy for boys and men, both boys and men should be added to HPV vaccination requirements.
The public health impact of this vaccine must not be derailed by false ideological propaganda. It has been well established that prevention does not promote sexual activity. A vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts will not cause promiscuity any more than an umbrella causes rain or seat belts cause reckless driving. Cancer prevention is certainly preferable to cancer treatment. The HPV vaccine is a red light to cancer and not a green light for sexual activity. Planned Parenthood Federation of America is counting on ACIP to make a rational set of decisions based upon science and public health.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 860 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.