We advocate for the inclusion of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in China’s National Immunization Program, support Chinese HPV vaccine manufacturers in meeting international quality standards, and help bridge the supply and demand gap to address the urgent vaccination needs of women in China and other developing countries.
Each year, cervical cancer kills more than 300,000 women around the world. About 90% of the new cases and deaths are reported in low- and middle-income countries. Because of China’s large population and uneven distribution of economic and health care resources, the country has been heavily burdened by cervical cancer—accounting for almost one-fifth of global cases and deaths. And this figure is rising.
The vast majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV, and HPV vaccination is a cost-efficient way to prevent cervical cancer. But the high price and insufficient supply of HPV vaccines have resulted in unequal access to this protection.
To address this challenge, we have partnered with PATH and two Chinese HPV vaccine manufacturers to improve manufacturing capacity planning, technological innovation, process optimization, and quality control. We have also transferred key technologies to the companies for free so they can ramp up production capacity, lower costs, and improve quality. This ensures that Chinese-produced HPV vaccines can meet international quality standards and thereby help bridge the supply and demand gaps in the international market while meeting the urgent vaccination needs of women in China. This cooperation allowed the first HPV vaccine developed and produced in China to pass World Health Organization prequalification in 2021. Another HPV vaccine from China is now applying for the certification.
As part of our efforts to ensure that women in China receive free, high-quality HPV vaccination at an appropriate age, we support Chinese partners in their research on health economics and financing mechanisms as well as regional pilot programs for HPV vaccination. Together, these efforts will produce evidence to support inclusion of HPV vaccines in China’s National Immunization Program. For example, we fund HPV immunization strategy studies at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences’ Cancer Hospital, and we help our partners launch pilot programs, develop toolkits, enhance research and service capabilities, and evaluate impact, with the ultimate goal of rolling out HPV immunization nationwide. As of October 2022, three provinces and 15 cities nationwide have included HPV vaccines in their immunization programs, protecting more than one million women a year.
Learn more about the foundation’s global efforts in vaccine development and surveillance