The Continuing Debate and Global Impacts

In June 2013, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) suspended its active recommendation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination after a small number of highly publicized alleged adverse events stoked public fears about the vaccine’s safety. While the MHLW continues to provide the HPV vaccination for those who request it through the National Immunization Programme (NIP), as of mid-April 2015, the suspension of the HPV vaccination recommendation continues.

This report outlines the major events with regard to the HPV vaccine controversy in Japan since May 2014, highlighting long-term implications of the rapid drop in vaccination coverage and recommending how to best move forward. There are also two addendums that explore global perspectives on the current situation in Japan and examine examples of how other countries have dealt with concerns and opposition to the HPV vaccine.

Rose Wilson is a graduate student, Pauline Paterson a research fellow, Jeremy Chiu a research intern, William Schulz a researcher, and Heidi Larson a senior lecturer in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in London, England.

Rose Wilson

Pauline Paterson

Jeremy Chiu

William Schulz

Heidi Larson