India’s First Gender-Neutral HPV Vaccine – All you need to know

Know all about India’s first gender-neutral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine GARDASIL-9 launched by MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.

HPV vaccine GARDASIL-9, Source: Reuters
HPV vaccine GARDASIL-9, Source: Reuters

MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd has launched India’s first gender-neutral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine GARDASIL-9 on September 29, 2021. It is the only US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved HPV vaccine that will help in reducing HPV-related diseases and cancers in India. It was first launched in the US in 2015. Since then, the vaccine has been approved across 80 countries across the world.

MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck Sharp and Dohme (Merck & Co, Inc.) in the US and Canada.

What is HPV vaccine GARDASIL-9?

GARDASIL-9 is a three-dose nano valent (9-valent) Human Papillomavirus or HPV vaccine that helps in reducing HPV-related diseases and cancers. GARDASIL-9 has been now been launched MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd in India as the country's first gender-neutral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

HPV vaccine GARDASIL-9: Doses schedule

GARDASIL-9 is administered as an intramuscular injection. It is administered in three doses over a duration of six months scheduled as 0, 2, and 6 months. It offers protection against 9 types of HPV serotypes namely 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

Who can get HPV vaccine?

The HPV-vaccine GARDASIL-9 is administered to girls and women in the age group 9 to 26 years and boys in the age group 9 to 15 years.

HPV-vaccine: Benefits and Protection

GARDASIL-9 offers protection against 9 types of HPV. It will aid in reducing cancers causing HPV types of viruses among girls and women aged 9 to 26 years and boys aged 9 to 15 years. This will reduce the burden of vulvar cancer, vulvar cancer, anal cancer, and anal cancer among females and preventing intraepithelial neoplasia, genital warts, precancerous or dysplastic lesions, and anal cancer among boys.

HPV-Gender Neutral Vaccination

HPV is the most common reason for India having the second-highest death rate due to cervical cancer. India reports approximately 98.3 per cent of cervical cancer cases, 95 per cent of vulvar cancer cases, 77 per cent of vaginal cancer cases, and 70 per cent of anal cancer caused by 7 types of HPV serotypes. Overall, India reports approximately 1.7 lakh cases annually of HPV-related cancers among men and women.

HPV does not differentiate between females or males. Vaccination of both girls and boys against infectious diseases is a common practice. As of today, almost 25 countries recommend ‘Gender Neutral Vaccine’ programs for protecting both girls and boys against infectious diseases.

HPV-Gender Neutral Vaccinations facilitate a more rapid reduction in HPV-related diseases as well as increased resilience towards temporary drops in vaccination coverage.

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