[WATCH] New vaccine will aim to prevent 95% of cervical cancers

Heart disease treatment and preventive HIV pill will be amongst numerous treatments on government formulary in the near future

The new HPV vaccine will target 95% of uterus cancers
The new HPV vaccine will target 95% of uterus cancers
New vaccine will aim to prevent 95% of uterus cancers

A new vaccine introduced by the government this year will aim to target 95% of cervical cancer caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). 

The vaccine entered the market in early 2019 and will be available in Malta from this year. Families with girls of 12 years of age and over will be receiving an invite by post to get vaccinated for HPV, Health Minister Chris Fearne said.

“There are very few cancers which can be linked to a particular cause. Cervical cancer is one of those few that can be linked to a single source, the source being HPV in 95% of the time. The new vaccine will attack nine strains of the virus,” Fearne said.

He made the announcement at the Floriana Health Centre on Thursday, during which Fearne also revealed that more free medicines will be introduced on the government formulary.

“HPV can affect women of all ages. Since we started screening, we have encountered 20 to 30 affected women per year,” Fearne said.

He announced that the government will be spending a further €9 million in 2020 on new vaccines and treatments introduced in the government formulary. One of these includes Xarelto, a heart disease medicine which 20,000 people are currently using in Malta.

Another project involves introducing 'patches' for diabetic children which will be connected to an Artificial Intelligence system with capabilities of monitoring sugar levels in children. Meningitis treatment for children will also be introduced in 2020.

“All cancer treatments approved by the government will now be on the government formulary so that cancer patients will no longer have to depend on the Community Chest Fund.”

In 2020, the government will also introduce new HIV treatments and modernise current programmes. Fearne said that the PrEP, the preventive HIV pill, will also be introduced on the government formulary in the near future since this is cost beneficial, reducing the amounts of patients contracting HIV in the long run.

Charmaine Gauci, Superintendent of Public Health, told MaltaToday that HPV, which may in most cases lead to cervical cancer has no particular symptoms and that it is usually contracted through sexual contact.