On 31st January 2011, the French Health Products Safety Agency (AFSSAPS) placed under surveillance 76 medicines including two vaccines (GARDASIL and CERVARIX) against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which in 70% to 80% of cases prevents cervical cancer.
Since 2005, all new products which have received authorisation to be sold on the market, such as the two vaccines mentioned above, are subject to reinforced surveillance. This procedure is further protection for the patient.
However, this announcement discredited these vaccines, which two weeks later, fortunately proved to be unwarranted.
On the aforementioned date, the Government of Monaco decided to apply the principle of precaution and to postpone the launch of the HPV vaccination campaign for young 14-year old girls, pending the conclusions of the AFSSAPS.
The AFSSAPS has confirmed that no element allows us to call into question the efficiency and innocuousness of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine. It has therefore asked the General Council of the Maritime Alps to continue its HPV vaccination and prevention programme with total peace of mind in the interests of public health.
Mr Eric Ciotti, President of the General Council, has therefore decided to relaunch the Campaign in the Department of the Maritime Alps.
In the light of the above, the Government of Monaco has decided to begin the HPV vaccination campaign in the Principality after the school holidays, i.e. on Monday 7th March 2011, the date on which school starts up again for the 14-year old girls concerned.
This campaign is part of the policy of excellence regarding public health prevention and screening implemented by the Government for several years. It is the first step in preventing cervical cancer. It will be supplemented by a screening campaign (smear test) for cervical cancer for women between 25 and 65, which will be launched in the course of 2011.
As far as the HPV vaccination is concerned, two vaccines are likely to be used. Whatever vaccine is chosen, it is administered in three doses spread over six months. These three intramuscular injections are necessary to guarantee maximum protection.
The Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, following the recommendations of the French High Authority for Health (HAS) strongly urges parents of 14-year old girls (born between 1st January and 31st December 1997) to have their daughters vaccinated. An incentive letter will be sent today by Mr Stéphane Valeri, Minister for Social Affairs and Health, to all those covered by Monaco’s Sickness Insurances Funds and the State Medical Services, whose daughters are in the age bracket concerned.
The vaccination is carried out by a doctor (general practitioner, gynaecologist or paediatrician) according to the parents’ preference.
Further information is available from Doctors Françoise Ragazzoni, Dominique Van Klaveren or Reda Djafer at the Princess Grace Hospital’s Gynaecology-Obstetrics Unit (switchboard: 97 98 99 00), designated as the referral doctors for HPV vaccination.
In the letter, the Minister draws the attention of parents to the fact that this vaccination does not substitute for regular gynaecological surveillance, of which screening is an essential element. As the protective effects of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine last 7 years, young girls who have been vaccinated at 14 may, from the age of 21, benefit from cervical cancer screening.
The vaccines are reimbursed at a rate of 80% by Monaco’s sickness insurance funds.
The Government of Monaco, within the scope of the vaccination campaign, is covering the cost of the four medical consultations and the vaccines not reimbursed by Monaco’s sickness insurance funds (i.e. the remaining 20%), if the persons concerned have no complementary private medical insurance. In this case, they should send back to their fund the receipt for the vaccines, stating “pas de mutuelle” in order to receive reimbursement for the patient contribution. Consequently, their children can benefit from all these medical acts completely free of charge.
This initiative places Monaco among the countries in Europe and worldwide at the forefront in this field.