Shanghai Women's Federation proposes free HPV jabs for girls
The Shanghai Women's Federation is calling on the city government to offer free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to girls.
In a proposal set to be submitted to Shanghai's "Two Sessions," the federation has appealed to the city government to vaccinate girls aged between 9 and 15, free of charge.
If it is passed this year, the inoculation rate for the city's teen girls, aged between 12 and 19, will reach over 90 percent by 2030, up to the level set by the World Health Organization, said Li Ming, deputy chairwoman of the federation.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women, and HPV infection is the leading cause. But HPV vaccines have proved very effective in reducing the risks. For girls aged between 9 and 14, two doses are enough, while for those who are older, three doses are required, according to the WHO.
Surprisingly, it is estimated that only 30 percent of adult females know about the HPV vaccine in China's big cities. The proportion is less than 15 percent among girls aged between 12 and 13. Fewer medical personnel in China know and recommend the vaccine compared to those in developed countries.
In China, HPV vaccines are not included in the medical insurance. Of all products on the market, even the cheapest bivalent vaccine costs nearly 700 yuan (US$110), effectively beyond many families, Li said, adding that free inoculation is expected to improve the rate significantly.
At the "Two Sessions" to be held next week, the federation will submit eight proposals in total.
It will propose legislating family education, call for more awareness of juveniles' mental problems and seek improvement to the economic compensation system for divorce.