HPV vaccine needs to scale up urgently, warns WHO

'Unfounded rumours' continue to impede access to the vaccine, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer

The HPV vaccine is a "critical" health tool and access to it should be scaled up as swiftly as possible, especially in poorer countries, World Health Organisation cancer experts say.

Figures from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) show an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2018, making it the fourth-most common cancer in women globally.

Each year, more than 310,000 women die from cervical cancer, and the vast majority of deaths are in poorer countries where immunisation rates against the HPV are low.

“HPV vaccination is safe, efficacious and critical in the fight against cervical cancer,” the IARC statement says.

In wealthy countries, some anti-vaccine campaigners are also persuading parents to refuse the shot for their children, leaving them at risk.

"Unfounded rumours about HPV vaccines continue to