The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine offers significant protection against cervical abnormalities in young women, researchers published on bmj.com have found.
The researchers were based in Australia, which was the first country to implement a publicly funded national vaccination programme in April 2007 and a ‘catch-up’ programme that ran until December 2009.
Four years after the introduction of the programme, data suggests a risk reduction of 46% for confirmed high grade cervical abnormalities and 34% for other cervical abnormalities for young women who were fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine prior to their first smear test.
The researchers also found that two doses of the vaccine provided 21% protection against both high grade and other cervical abnormalities.
There was no significant protection from one dose.
The researchers say that “continued observation of this population is necessary to assess the implications for cervical screening recommendations in the coming era of mass vaccination”.
Data was used from population registers in Queensland for a four year period following the introduction of the vaccination programme in 2007
The human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause warts, with some strains causing cervical cancer.
Previous studies have shown that the two HPV vaccines used to vaccinate young women prevent cervical lesions associated with HPV types including vulval and vaginal lesions and genital warts in women as well as genital warts and high grade anal disease in men.