Objective: To measure the effectiveness of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine against cervical abnormalities four years after implementation of a nationally funded vaccination programme in Queensland, Australia.
Design: Case-control analysis of linked administrative health datasets.
Setting: Queensland, Australia.
Participants: Women eligible for free vaccination (aged 12-26 years in 2007) and attending for their first cervical smear test between April 2007 and March 2011. High grade cases were women with histologically confirmed high grade cervical abnormalities (n = 1062) and "other cases" were women with any other abnormality at cytology or histology (n = 10,887). Controls were women with normal cytology (n = 96,404).
Main outcome measures: Exposure odds ratio (ratio of odds of antecedent vaccination (one, two, or three vaccine doses compared with no doses) among cases compared with controls), vaccine effectiveness ((1-adjusted odds ratio) × 100), and number needed to vaccinate to prevent one cervical abnormality at first screening round. We stratified by four age groups adjusted for follow-up time, year of birth, and measures of socioeconomic status and remoteness. The primary analysis concerned women whose first ever smear test defined their status as a case or a control.
Results: The adjusted odds ratio for exposure to three doses of HPV vaccine compared with no vaccine was 0.54 (95% confidence interval 0.43 to 0.67) for high grade cases and 0.66 (0.62 to 0.70) for other cases compared with controls with normal cytology, equating to vaccine effectiveness of 46% and 34%, respectively. The adjusted numbers needed to vaccinate were 125 (95% confidence interval 97 to 174) and 22 (19 to 25), respectively. The adjusted exposure odds ratios for two vaccine doses were 0.79 (95% confidence interval 0.64 to 0.98) for high grade cases and 0.79 (0.74 to 0.85) for other cases, equating to vaccine effectiveness of 21%.
Conclusion: The quadrivalent HPV vaccine conferred statistically significant protection against cervical abnormalities in young women who had not started screening before the implementation of the vaccination programme in Queensland, Australia.