European Commission Gathered Evidence on Vaccine-preventable Cancers
As part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the European Commission started work on future Council Recommendations to support Member State efforts to extend routine vaccination against viruses that can cause cancers later in life.
Earlier this month, it gathered stakeholders’ views through a call for evidence, to which Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE) contributed.
In its submission, DiCE highlighted that in order to mitigate the rising incidence of liver cancer across Europe, preventative and curative measures for viral Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) must be adhered to, as recommended in the Action Plan for the Health Sector Response to Viral Hepatitis in the WHO European Region. This includes 1) Mass HBV immunisation for all newborns and high-risk groups across Europe. 2) Control of HCV infection transmission through raising awareness, improving screening, and offering treatment to infected individuals. 3) Development of an effective vaccine against HCV. 4) Widespread and equitable access to therapies for HBV and HCV infections. You can read DiCE’s input in full here.
Regarding vaccination against HBV, the European Commission will aim for the proposal to call for measures to increase access and uptake of the vaccination for affected groups.
Envisaged actions to increase vaccination uptake will include: (1) reducing physical obstacles to vaccination; (2) targeted communication efforts; and(3) fighting mis- and disinformation.
The opinions gathered through the call for evidence will feed into work on Council Recommendations and will be shared in order to inform other Cancer Plan initiatives. In addition, the following entities are asked for their input: the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Medicines Agency, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Commission expert groups, the Beating Cancer Stakeholder Contact Group’, Horizon Europe Cancer Mission Board, European office of the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Vaccination.
Council Recommendations on vaccine-preventable cancers are included in the 2023 Commission work programme. Although legally not binding, they would provide guidance and impetus for action while allowing Member States to adapt their approach to a national context. Additionally, it would support EU Member States in their efforts to fulfil Sustainable Development Goal 3, mainly the ambitious target 3.3 – which aims to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases by 2030.