The availability of prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines has provided powerful tools for primary prevention of cervical cancer and other HPV-associated diseases. Since 2006, the quadrivalent and bivalent vaccines have each been licensed in over 100 countries. By the beginning of 2012, HPV vaccine had been introduced into national immunization programs in at least 40 countries. Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada were among the first countries to introduce HPV vaccination. In Europe, the number of countries having introduced vaccine increased from 3 in 2007 to 22 at the beginning of 2012. While all country programs target young adolescent girls, specific target age groups vary as do catch-up recommendations. Different health care systems and infrastructure have resulted in varied implementation strategies, with some countries delivering vaccine in schools and others through health centers or primary care providers. Within the first 5 years after vaccines became available, few low- or middle-income countries had introduced HPV vaccine. The main reason was budgetary constraints due to the high vaccine cost. Bhutan and Rwanda implemented national immunization after receiving vaccine through donation programs in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The GAVI Alliance decision in 2011 to support HPV vaccination should increase implementation in low-income countries. Evaluation of vaccination programs includes monitoring of coverage, safety, and impact. Vaccine safety monitoring is part of routine activities in many countries. Safety evaluations are important and communication about vaccine safety is critical, as events temporally associated with vaccination can be falsely attributed to vaccination. Anti-vaccination efforts, in part related to concerns about safety, have been mounted in several countries. In the 5 years since HPV vaccines were licensed, there have been successes as well as challenges with vaccine introduction and implementation. Further progress is anticipated in the coming years, especially in low- and middle-income countries where the need for vaccine is greatest. This article forms part of a special supplement entitled "Comprehensive Control of HPV Infections and Related Diseases" Vaccine Volume 30, Supplement 5, 2012.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.