Papillomavirus: possible vaccination in colleges at the start of the school year

Emmanuel Macron announced the implementation at the start of the next school year of a free and generalized vaccination campaign against the papillomavirus for all college students from the fifth, this Tuesday, February 28.

Papillomavirus: possible vaccination in colleges at the start of the school year

Emmanuel Macron announced the implementation at the start of the next school year of a free and generalized vaccination campaign against the papillomavirus for all college students from the fifth, this Tuesday, February 28.

The State has given itself the mission of “eradicating” the papillomavirus and it is through vaccination that it hopes to achieve its goal. From the start of the 2023 school year, a "generalized" and free vaccination campaign against the papillomavirus will be set up in all colleges. Vaccination, which will be accessible to all middle school students, girls and boys, from 5th grade, should increase vaccination coverage and prevent infection, which is responsible for 6,000 cancers and 30,000 precancerous lesions each year.

It was none other than Emmanuel Macron who, during a trip to a college in Jarnac (Charente), made the announcement, eagerly awaited and welcomed by experts such as Elisabeth Bouvet, president of the Technical Commission for Vaccinations at Haute health authority (HAS). She judged the idea of ​​​​systematically offering vaccination to the college "excellent" on the airwaves of Franceinfo, only a few hours before the speech of the Head of State. The Minister of Health and that of Education, François Braun and Pap Ndiaye, accompanied the President of the Republic and support the initiative which should make it possible "to avoid many cancers". Serious diseases that are all eradicable through screening and vaccination according to the World Health Organization.

Vaccination against the papillomavirus is aimed at adolescents and to ensure better protection against this infection, the solution is found in schools. Emmanuel Macron announced, not an obligation to be vaccinated but a generalized and free vaccination campaign against the papillomavirus in colleges, i.e. the systematic proposal to college students, girls and boys, to protect themselves against HPV and its risks, from the 5th grade class. The campaign will be launched from the start of the 2023 school year.

A solution defended by Elisabeth Bouvet, president of the Technical Commission for Vaccinations at the High Authority for Health (HAS). A campaign similar to the one that will be implemented soon was tested in the Grand Est for two years and obtained satisfactory results among 5th graders: a vaccination rate increased from 9 to 27% in the first year and from 14 to 31% the following year. "The fact of advocating vaccination to children of both sexes from the age of 11 has been an incentive. It allows us to talk about vaccination better and to offer it better as far as doctors are concerned", explained the expert at the microphone of France info. And to bid on the subject of colleges: "The school environment is a very favorable environment for vaccination".

The vaccine against the human papillomavirus is not one of the 11 compulsory vaccinations in France and it will not become so. On the other hand, it is strongly recommended for adolescents, girls and boys, between 11 and 14 years old, before they have started an active sexual life. However, it is possible to get vaccinated against the papillomavirus in "catch-up" until the age of 19. A final deadline is understood for men who have same-sex relationships up to the age of 26.

When the papillomavirus develops into a cancerous form, the disease mainly affects the cervix in women. All parts of the genital system can however be affected, including for men in whom rectal cancers can appear. Elisabeth Bouvet listed other cancers in the tonsil or throat", mouth or even upper respiratory tract that can be linked to the papillomavirus, more often in men than in women. If the infection is often transmitted during sexual intercourse, it is also transmitted by simple skin contact.

The vaccine against the papillomavirus has "excellent [...] immune efficacy" against infections according to the president of the Technical Commission on Vaccinations, in particular against precancerous lesions, that is to say those most at risk.

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