Efforts towards the consolidation of public policies for the prevention of HPV-associated cancers in Puerto Rico

Medina-Laabes et al.

The purpose of this special report is to describe chronologically the events that contributed to the development and approval of legislation and subsequent implementation of a school vaccination mandate in order to prevent HPV and HPV-associated cancers in Puerto Rico (PR). Starting in 2010, PR initiated public policy approvals aimed at improving cancer registries and HPV vaccine coverage through health insurance for adolescents aged 11 to 18 years. In 2014, scientific and community efforts succeeded in documenting the magnitude of morbidity caused by HPV and jointly developing HPV vaccine prevention and promotion strategies. In August 2018, PR became one of the first four territories of the United States of America to implement the HPV vaccine school entry requirement to decrease the incidence of HPV-associated cancers on the island. In 2019, it was enshrined in law that every immunization provider must submit immunization data to the Puerto Rico Immunization Registry. The case of PR demonstrates that public policy-making alongside collaboration between academic, scientific, and community coalitions can achieve population change and measurable outcomes aimed at HPV prevention. Countries with a similar public health problem could adopt efforts similar to those presented herein and align them with the World Health Organization goal of eradicating cervical cancer by 2030.

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Special report