The vaccination of teenage girls against papillomavirus (HPV) infections, which can cause several cancers, experienced an "improvement" in 2021, according to a study by Public Health France published on Tuesday.

However, it remains at "moderate levels", especially among the most disadvantaged.

Low vaccination coverage compared to the rest of Europe

In mainland France, the vaccination coverage of adolescent girls aged 15 to 18 against the papillomavirus, particularly linked to cancer of the uterus, is estimated at 43.6%.

Vaccination is therefore increasing in this age group since previous data estimated the proportion of adolescent girls vaccinated at 29.4% in 2018.

However, the vaccination coverage of young girls against these infections remains “moderate” and “far from the 60% target” of the 2014-2019 cancer plan, underlines Public Health France.

It also appears to be among the lowest in Europe, where some countries (Finland, Hungary, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom, Sweden) have more than 70% of adolescent girls vaccinated.

13% of parents have never heard of it

Another observation: the vaccination of adolescent girls against HPV reflects inequalities.

Geographically, vaccination coverage is particularly low in overseas territories (13.8% in Guadeloupe, 17.2% in Martinique, 22.6% in Guyana, 24.0% in Reunion).

Social criteria also come into play.

The higher the income of the parents, the more the adolescent girls are vaccinated and if one parent (or both) is unemployed, the vaccination coverage is “particularly low”.

In mainland France, more than 13% of parents of teenage girls have not heard of this vaccination and lack of knowledge is even higher in overseas territories.

Vaccination against the papillomavirus has been recommended in France for girls since 2007, for boys since 2021. "The organization of vaccination by school medicine could make it possible to increase vaccination coverage", according to Public Health France.

The Minister of Health, François Braun, has repeatedly expressed the desire to increase vaccination in this area.


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  • Papillomavirus

  • Vaccination

  • Vaccine

  • Cancer

  • Teenager

  • Health