New Council Recommendation on Vaccine-Preventable Cancers

21 June 2024


The Council of the European Union has adapted a groundbreaking set of recommendations to increase vaccination rates against both the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (Hep B) and combating cancers caused by these two viruses. The measures were agreed upon  today on during a meeting of the EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council) in Brussels, and are crucial for advancing our efforts to prevent cancer across Europe.

Key recommendations to member states include:

  • Introducing 19 measures to boost HPV and HepB vaccination uptake by removing structural barriers for disadvantaged and high-risk groups
  • Expanding access to vaccination by providing the service free of charge or fully reimbursable
  • Enhancing data-driven decision-making for vaccination programmes
  • Ensuring the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will display national data on HPV coverage rates in EU member states on a dedicated dashboard by the end of the year
  • Promoting a target for the percentage of boys to be vaccinated against HPV by 2030.
  • Focusing on high-risk groups for HepB and reaching the 2030 goal of hepatitis elimination through 95% vaccination coverage

These measures are part of the broader Europe's Beating Cancer Plan and effort to reduce the vaccine-preventable cancers. Daniel Kelly and Margaret Stanley, co-chairs of the ECO HPV and Hep B Action Network, had this to say:

'The newly published Council Recommendation is welcome and shows a clear commitment from Member States to overcome current barriers and expand access to HPV and HBV vaccination. However, more can still be done, especially to increase HPV coverage by establishing a target for the vaccination of boys.' - Daniel Kelly

'Leveraging data-driven decision-making and setting clear vaccination targets represents a huge step forward. These recommendations can enhance our efforts to prevent vaccine-preventable cancers and protect future generations.’ – Margaret Stanley

These recommendations are crucial for advancing our efforts in cancer prevention across Europe. Find the full adopted document here.