Papillomavirus: the HPV vaccination campaign among college students is struggling to convince

Papillomavirus: the HPV vaccination campaign among college students is struggling to convince

Launched at the start of the school year in September 2023, the papillomavirus vaccination campaign for 5th grade students is far from achieving the planned objectives. A high rate of vaccinated college students would, however, be a guarantee of effectiveness against this virus which causes more than 6,000 cancers each year in Europe.

The expected commitment is not there. Launched in September 2023 in French public middle schools, a large vaccination campaign against HPV, the human papillomavirus, was to target 5th grade students, both girls and boys, to give a real boost to this measure. It must be said that on the subject, Europe is lagging behind compared to the 70% of adolescents vaccinated in Portugal, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Disappointing figures for the first quarter

Europe was modestly targeting only 30% of 5th grade students vaccinated for this first campaign. But the figures are far from it. On January 11, the French Society of Colposcopy and Cervico-Vaginal Pathology (SFCPCV) took advantage of its 47e National Congress to make an initial assessment. To date, only data from the Grand Est region are available but they are already revealing: none of its 10 departments has reached the objective of 30% vaccinated. The 3 best performers were Meuse (25.5% of the eligible population), Marne (20.6%) and Haute-Marne (20.2%). The overall rate of vaccinated compared to the eligible population for the region, however, is only around 11%.

The SFCPCV also took note of the “acceptability” rate. That is to say the percentage of parents who agreed to have their child vaccinated at school. This is also lower than expected. If Brittany obtained 30% of positive responses, the rates are lower in the other regions: 13% in Occitanie, 15.7% in Corsica, 20.56% in Center Val de Loire or even 21.4% in New -Aquitaine. Families did not necessarily see the benefit of this campaign.

“However, this does not necessarily mean that adolescents are not vaccinated. Parents can also refuse, because the child is already vaccinated or they prefer to do so with their doctor.”however qualified Professor Geoffroy Canlorbe during the press conference.

Half of the goal achieved

Contacted by TipsForWomens, Professor Xavier Carcopino, president of the SFCPCV, who feared a missed meeting last month on our site, wants to be cautious about the conclusions drawn to date.

“What we are starting to have are figures given by the teams who vaccinated in colleges and who announce between 10 and 15% of students in 5th grade vaccinated. We do not yet have the returns throughout the territory, but it ranges between 7 and 27%. Which ultimately places us at half of the expected objectives, with 15%. Let’s still wait until we have the complete general figures.”

A missed opportunity… for now

Why are you late ? The teacher criticizes a lack of information for students and parents, but also a cumbersome operation which constituted a hindrance:

“The requirement to have the health record and the authorization of both parents complicated the task of those who came to vaccinate. This resulted in a missed opportunity.” deplores the doctor.

The president of the SFCPCV, however, intends to remain confident for the future: “It must be kept in mind that the vaccination in colleges remains a major issue, and this is only the first year. We can do much better in the future, but to do that we will have to learn from our mistakes.”

To date, professionals estimate that a vaccination rate of 80% of college students would be able to stop the spread of the papillomavirus, a virus which currently causes 6,400 cancers per year in Europe.