Our Progress for HPV Action in Romania - An Interview with Prof. Daniel Kelly

For much of 2023, the 'HPV Action Now' project has been working in Romania to get more young people vaccinated against the human papilloma virus and the many cancers it causes.

That effort is now showing results.

On 31 October – at an 'HPV Action Now' event in the Romanian Parliament – the country's health minister, Alexandru Rafila, confirmed that by the end of the year, life-saving HPV vaccine will be fully reimbursable by the state for all boys and girls ages 11 to 18. Women 18 to 45 will be reimbursed at 50%.

"This is a major advance for Romanians and a testament to the potential of 'HPV Action Now'," said Project Director Daniel Kelly. "We're grateful to the health minister for his leadership, and I'd like to think the campaign played a valuable role in setting the stage."

Each month, the project organises video conferences bringing together physicians, scientists, public health experts, and representatives of mothers and young people from all over the country.

"We are facilitators," said Kelly. "We don't tell them what to do. We prompt them to discuss and agree on what needs to happen in their country to get more boys and girls vaccinated."

The human papilloma virus causes cervical cancer and a variety of other cancers, including vaginal, vulval, anal, penile, and head and neck cancers. 'HPV Action Now', coordinated by the European Cancer Organisation, has targeted Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia in this current, initial phase.

Leaders of the campaign are quick to acknowledge that there is considerable work still to be done in Romania.

"How do the authorities actually deliver the vaccine to those who need it?" asked Kelly. "Distribution is a big problem. New systems will need to be developed. There's also public misunderstanding and misinformation about the vaccine's safety. We can help by enhancing public education and by assisting Romanian members explore ways to make vaccine access easier and less bureaucratic. We're off to a strong start."



Prof. Daniel Kelly is Founder and Co-Chair of ECO's HPV Action Network and Co-Chair in the Steering Committee of PROTECT-EUROPE, an EU4Health Project championing gender-neutral vaccination programme in EU Member States to provide protection for everyone against cancers caused by HPV.
Read more on ECO's HPV efforts in Europe.
Learn more on ECO's HPV Action Network and on PROTECT-EUROPE.