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HPV Vaccine Issues in Japan: A review of our attempts to promote the HPV vaccine and to provide effective evaluation of the problem through social-medical and behavioral-economic perspectives.

Vaccine 2024 April 14
In Japan, subsidies from local and national government programs for HPV vaccination of girls aged 13-16 began in 2010. By 2013, HPV vaccines were being used routinely for vaccinating girls aged 12-16 as part of its national immunization program. However, in June of 2013, in response to reports of possible adverse reactions to the vaccine, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) announced a 'temporary suspension' of its governmental recommendation for HPV vaccination. The vaccination rate quickly dropped from 70 % of age-eligible girls to almost zero. It was not until 2021 that the government's recommendation suspension finally ended. The efficacy and safety of the HPV vaccine is now well documented, yet Japan has failed to reestablish any credible level of HPV vaccination. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Japan's HPV vaccination debacle was likely to result in real harm to the girls who lacked its protection; something we have already demonstrated with real-world data. To reinvigorate the HPV vaccination program in Japan to its prior levels, in the face of the current high level of HPV vaccine hesitancy, we will have to address the irrationality of human decision-making pointed out by behavioral economics. The Japanese government must act expeditiously to promote stronger cervical cancer control measures.

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