Mexico orders HPV vaccinations for all 5th-grade girls

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico on Wednesday launched a massive program to vaccinate fifth-grade girls against human papillomavirus, making it one of the few nations in the world with a universal campaign against the sexually transmitted virus.

One million schoolgirls ages 11 or 12 will receive the HPV vaccination this week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said. Another 200,000 girls who aren’t in school also will be given the vaccine.

HPV is the world’s most common sexually transmitted infection and causes cervical cancer, a disease that killed an estimated 4,000 Mexican women a year, Calderon said.

Mexico becomes one of the few countries in the world to follow in the footsteps of Greece, which in 2007 made the HPV vaccination mandatory for girls entering seventh grade.

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