Studies demonstrate costs of HPV vaccinations in low income countries

Two recently published studies highlighted the costs of delivering vaccinations for human papillomavirus to primary school girls in Tanzania.

The studies both found that the cost of delivering the HPV vaccine to adolescent girls might be significantly higher than delivering vaccines to infants when the delivery schedule matches the established infant immunization schedule, MedicalXpress reports.

The first study, conducted by the World Health Organization, the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania and the London School of Hygiene, tested class-based and age-based vaccination in three districts in Tanzania. The study found that class-based delivery was generally cheaper at an estimated $9.76 per fully immunized girl and $1.3 million overall, excluding vaccine costs.

The second study, conducted by Raymond Hutubessy from the WHO and his colleagues, used the new Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Costing tool during a five year planning period. The study estimated that the vaccine could be delivered at $12.40 for each fully immunized girl.

"These figures will enable governments to plan ahead so that they can adequately secure the financial resources required to introduce HPV vaccination programs," Hutubessy said, according to MedicalXpress.

Hutubessy said that the estimated costs to establish a regional HPV vaccine program could pose financial and logistical issues for Tanzania's Ministry of Health.

HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer, the second largest cancer-related killer of women worldwide. Cervical cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women in Tanzania.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations announced in November 2011 that it would progress toward funding support for HPV vaccines for eligible countries, which could make vaccination an option in countries where the vaccines would typically be too expensive, MedicalXpress reports.