Lessons learned from nationwide vaccine programs: Comparing human papillomavirus, poliomyelitis vaccine, and swine flu

Renuka Bhat, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This assessment compares the human papillomavirus (HPV) nationwide vaccine to the poliomyelitis vaccine and the swine flu vaccine with the purpose of finding parallels and lessons in the controversies faced by the development and use of the vaccines. There are a number of great barriers that are facing the HPV vaccine to date. These controversies lie in dealing with the risk involved in taking the vaccine, how much control the government should have in administering the vaccine, how to communicate the risk to the public, and the cost-effectiveness of the vaccine versus treatment for cervical cancer. The lessons for the HPV vaccine that were learned after comparison and assessment of the controversies were: (1) plan ahead of time on how to inform the public if a risk develops from taking the HPV vaccination and it may be better to provide some information while the event is occurring, always being as truthful as possible, and later dispensing more information once all of the facts are known, (2) the human papillomavirus is not something that will become a pandemic in a short amount of time because the virus takes a long time to develop into cervical cancer, so if a major risk begins to show after continuing to develop and administer the vaccine for an amount of time, it may be better to take it off the market for a while and possibly reconfigure it to help eliminate some of the risks, (3) if side reactions and risks do develop and the government assumes liability for these reactions, the cost-effectiveness can be greatly affected, so it is important to be constantly checking to see if all the monetary and health benefits of the vaccine are outweighing any of the negative costs of the vaccine, and lastly, (4) the public must feel that every aspect of the vaccine, both good and bad, has been thought over and the benefits of taking the vaccine prevail over the negatives and that politics and commercial interests have nothing to do with the production and administration of the vaccine.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Bhat, Renuka, "Lessons learned from nationwide vaccine programs: Comparing human papillomavirus, poliomyelitis vaccine, and swine flu" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1453362.