The maximum age for giving the HPV vaccine has been temporarily extended

The administration period of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine has been temporarily extended until the end of the 2022-2023 school year. The vaccination series can be started up until when the young person turns 18 years of age. The prolongation is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic all vaccinations may not have been administered according to the planned schedule, and the HPV vaccinations of young persons have lagged behind schedule.

The prevalence of vaccinations varies according to age group and area, and as yet there is no exact information concerning the amount of young persons in need of the HPV vaccine. According to cautious estimates the amount of those who need the vaccine in all age groups would be ca. 100 000 in the whole country. 

The HPV vaccine is included in the national vaccination programme, and it is offered to both girls and boys. Usually the vaccination series consists of two doses, given in the fifth and sixth grades of primary school. If the vaccinations are started to a young person aged 15 years or more, three doses are needed. The vaccine gives the better protection the younger it is given.

HPV causes several different cancers of the head and neck area, cervix, genitals and anus. It is transmitted in cutaneous and sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is the best way to avoid infection. The vaccine prevents ca. 90 % of cervical cancers and up to 95 % of precancerous changes of the cervix caused by the two most common HPV types. 

Sources: