Advice of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec on human papillomavirus vaccines

In October 2007, the Comité sur l'immunisation du Québec (CIQ) tabled a report entitled “Prévention par la vaccination des maladies attribuables aux virus du papillome humain au Québec” [Prevention of diseases caused by human papillomaviruses through vaccination]. At the time that report was being drafted, only one vaccine – Gardasil – was authorized for sale in Canada. The report did not directly compare the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines.

Given the likelihood that the Cervarix vaccine would be approved, the Direction générale de la santé publique (MSSS) submitted a request to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) on December 19, 2007, asking the latter to produce an advice with respect to the following question: “Do the two HPV vaccines have an equivalent ability to achieve the stated goal of the immunization program, which is to reduce the incidence of and mortality associated with cervical cancer?”

This document seeks to compare the performance of the two vaccines. However, in order to protect a larger proportion of the population, the cost of the vaccines is another important factor that must be taken into account. The Quebec experience has shown that having at least two vaccines available for a single program can help reduce costs, while also making it possible to vaccinate and protect more people.

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