All girls in Sweden should be offered vaccines to help prevent cervical cancer as part of the country's free vaccination program, the National Board of Health and Welfare said Tuesday.
The agency "proposes that all girls in fifth and sixth grade (around 10 and 11 years old) should be vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus), which can cause cervical cancer," it wrote in a statement.
AdvertisementHPV is a common virus spread through sexual contact. The vaccine prevents the most common types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
"This was a very easy call to make once all the facts were on the table," health board general director Kjell Asplund told the TT news agency. In Sweden, the new vaccine reportedly could save around 100 lives a year.
The proposal -- which TT said would cost the Swedish state about 400 million kronor (64 million dollars, 32 million euros) a year -- has been sent out to various authorities around the country, who must make their opinions known by April 9.
Based on their responses, the national health board will make its final decision on whether to offer the vaccine as part of the national vaccination programme "later this spring," agency spokesman Anders Tegnell told AFP.
Two new vaccines against HPV types 16 and 18, which account for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases worldwide, exist on the market today: Gardasil and Ceravix.
According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) some 500,000 cases of cervical cancer are discovered each year. If left untreated, invasive cervical cancer is almost always fatal.