Much (young) sexual active women and men are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Since 2010, 12-year-old girls are vaccinated through the National Immunisation Programme to prevent cervical cancer. Nowadays, we know more about the vaccination; it prevents not only against cancer in the cervix, but also against penile, anal, vaginal and vulvar cancer. In addition, there are also indications for the prevention of oropharyngeal cancers.
In response to those novel insights, the Ministry of Health asked the Health Council to prepare an update of their advice in 2008 to vaccinate all girls in the Netherlands. To support the Health Council, the RIVM has collected and structured relevant national and international information. For example information on the occurrence of HPV infections and HPV-related diseases in girls/women and boys/men as well as the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines.
In the past years, the occurrence of HPV-related cancers in males has steadily increased. Currently, there are three vaccines on the market, which can be used for women as well as for men. In the Netherlands, the bivalent vaccine, protecting against HPV types 16 and 18, is used to date. The other two vaccines protects against more types of HPV. Vaccination coverage among girls is 61 percent. The current programme for girls is expected to lead annually to 350 fewer women with cervical cancer and 100 fewer women who die due to this cancer.