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Qatar approves use of optional HPV vaccine

The Ministry of Public Health said the move is part of a strategy to protect the community from cervical cancer.

Qatar’s health authorities added the human papillomavirus (HPV) shot to the country’s list of approved vaccines, a statement confirmed.

The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) said its introduction is part of a strategy to protect the community from cervical cancer, a significant public health concern.

The inclusion of the HPV vaccine is in line with “efforts to prevent and reduce the burden of communicable/vaccine-preventable diseases in the state of Qatar,” Dr. Hamad E Al Rumaihi, the director of Health Protection & Communicable Diseases Division at MOPH said.

HPV cannot be treated, but it can be prevented through vaccination. HPV infections often do not exhibit any symptoms, leading to delayed diagnosis in most cases. It is a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to various health complications, including cervical, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers.

Dr. Soha S Albayat, Head of the Vaccination Section at MOPH, explained that the vaccine provides protection against “HPV that causes approximately 95% of cervical cancer cases and 90% of warts.”

The HPV vaccine has been monitored by global organisations such as the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – all of which recommend its use.

Some 125 countries across the world already include the HPV vaccine in their national immunisation programmes.

A two-dose series recommended for those aged 11 to 14 years and a three-dose series for teens and young adults aged 15 to 26 years. High-risk groups up to 45 years old may also benefit from the vaccine.

“Considering the disastrous psychological, social, and economic burden of cancer and the quality of life of both individuals and families, it is a priority to make all possible efforts to prevent it, whenever possible. Fortunately, there is a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HPV-related cancers,” Dr. Samya Al Abdulla, Executive Director of Operations–PHCC, said.

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