The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) highlighted the importance of increasing vaccination against Human Papillomaviruses (HPV) and the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) in its response to a ‘Call for Evidence’ on vaccination against cancer-causing viruses.
The European Commission is currently preparing a proposal for a Council Recommendation on vaccine-preventable cancers, planned to be launched in the second half of 2023. This Council Recommendation will set out non-binding recommendations aimed at supporting the Member States of the European Union (EU) with addressing the cancer risks linked to HPV and HBV infections.
The Council Recommendation is one of the actions of the EU’s flagship plan to address cancer - Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan - which has set the ambition to “eliminate cervical cancer and other cancers caused by human papillomaviruses”. A Call for Evidence was open until 6 February 2023 to gather the feedback from stakeholders prior to the official publication of the proposal.
In its response to the Call for Evidence, ESMO welcomed the plans to launch the Council Recommendation as it contains the promise to increase vaccination against HPV and HBV across Europe, which is key to driving back cancers caused by these viruses. ESMO also offered its support with developing the Council Recommendations and ensuring that the final recommendations will ultimately be implemented in practice.
Prior to the launch of the Call for Evidence, EU Health Ministers agreed to establish a new ‘Expert Forum on Vaccine Hesitancy’ (EPSCO Council 8-9 December 2022). ESMO believes that there should be close alignment between the work of this group and the development of the Council Recommendation. What is more, special efforts should be made to prevent and mitigate fragmented approaches towards HPV and HBV vaccination across EU Member States, and ensure that all obstacles to vaccination - both physical and non-physical - are reduced.
ESMO’s full response can be accessed here.
ESMO stands ready to collaborate with the EU institutions throughout the legislative process to ensure the development of a robust Council Recommendation that helps improving HPV and HBV vaccination rates.
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