The first vaccine to protect women against cervical cancer is available in Singapore for those between the ages of nine and 26, health officials said Friday.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) gave its approval to Gardasil, made by Merck, Sharp and Dohme. A similar vaccine, Cervarix, from competitor GlaxoSmithKline, is awaiting approval in the city-state.
The vaccine represents a major health breakthrough, said Tay Eng Hseon, a doctor at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital, which was part of the multi-centre trials.
"It is approved to prevent not only cervical cancer but also genital warts," the Straits Times quoted Tay as saying.
Gardasil offers protection against infection by two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which accounts for 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases.
Vaccinated women still have to undergo regular pap smears to detect the other 30 percent of cervical cancers are caused by another 30 strains of the virus. The vaccine should cut their overall risk by two-thirds, Tay told the newspaper.