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Country/JA: Luxembourg flag Luxembourg
Action type: Program

Problem and objective: Infection by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has been shown to be the key risk factor in the development of cervical cancer. Furthermore, it can cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus and oropharynx. Vaccination against HPV is the most effective preventive measure against this infection, and thus may reduce the prevalence of the above listed cancers. A broad, free of charge HPV vaccination programme was put in place.

Implementation status: A fully implemented measure

Key Contextual Factors

  • The Health Directorate of Luxembourg is overseeing the HPV vaccination programmes, as well as the associated communication.
  • From 2021,the Health Directorate provide medical doctors with free of charge HPV vaccines for the target population groups (see above).
  • The HPV vaccination is typically performed by a treating doctor, paediatrician or gynaecologist.
  • School health services check all pupil’s vaccination record, enter dates of administration of HPV dosis (and all other vaccines) on electronic school health record, and send reminders to parents and tutors, if HPV vaccine evidence is missing.

Key Components/Steps

  • 2007: a recommendation for HPV vaccination of girls aged 11-12 years, with a catch-up programme for girls aged 13-18 years was published by the Superior Council of Infectious Diseases.
  • 2008: the HPV vaccination programme was initiated.
  • 2015: taking into account newly published evidence, the age of the target group was modified to girls between 11-14 years included.
  • 2019: the scope of the free HPV vaccination programme was extended further to include:
    • girls and boys between 9 and 13 years included;
    • for the above 13 year old – risk groups, such as:
      • immunodeficient individuals.
      • Men who have sex with men (MSM).
  • 2018: bivalent vaccine used previously was replaced by a nonavalent one, increasing the protection against additional HPV strains.
  • 2019: the catch-up programme for girls up to 18 years is closed.
  • 2019: active communication aimed at informing health care professionals, as well as the wider population, was initiated.

Main Impacts / Added Value

  • The HPV vaccination reduces the risk of vaccinated individuals to develop certain types of cancer, caused by an HPV infection.
  • Including boys, as well as girls into the vaccination programme has been seen as a crucial element in reducing the transmission of HPV in the population.
  • A study on the coverage of the HPV vaccination was published in 2018 and indicated a moderate coverage at 62% in the target population at that time.

Lessons Learned

  • Vaccination parameters, such as the target population, should be continuously adjusted in the light of new emerging evidence.
  • Continuous targeted communication around the HPV vaccination programme is necessary to obtain a significant level of HPV vaccination in the population.