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New Vaccines Reducing Risk of Cervical Cancer

CANSA welcomes the registration of two new cervical cancer vaccines as an effective way to prevent cervical cancer. Currently both vaccines are only available in the private sector and each vaccine costs over R2 100 for the three injections needed.

CANSA recommends customers check the current price of each dose of vaccine with their pharmacists, as prices can vary.

In order to be accessible, the vaccines need to be affordable and part of the government immunisation programme for all children before they are sexually active, ideally before the age of 10.

Even if every child has a vaccine, the need for Pap smears and human papilloma virus (HPV) screening for those who did not get the vaccine will need to continue for decades in order to help detect cervical cancer early.

Read more about  Gardisal and Cervarix, the two vaccines available in South Africa below.



  • Approved by FDA  June 2006
  • Approved by SA MCC Feb 2008
  • Manufacturer: Merck (Pty) Ltd; (MSD : Merck, Sharpe & Dohme)
  • Only a doctor or healthcare professional can decide if Gardisal is right for you or your daughter

Actions (package insert details)

  • Helps protect against multiple strains
  • Quadrivalent : strains 6,11,16 & 18
  • Is given as 3 injections over 6 months
  • Is for girls and young women ages 9 to 26.
  • Is not for women who are pregnant.
  • Does not treat cervical cancer or genital warts.
  • Will not protect against diseases caused by other HPV types
  • It’s important to continue routine cervical cancer screenings
  • Not for anyone who is allergic to ingredients of Gardisal  ( should not receive injection)

Costs single exit price :

  • R700.00 per injection

Each 0,5 ml dose contains:

  • Human papilloma virus:
  • Type 6 l 1 protein 20,0 μg
  • Type 11 l 1 protein 40,0 μg
  • Type 16 l 1 protein 40,0 μg
  • Type 18 l 1 protein 20,0 μg

Side effects:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Redness at injection site
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting



  • Approved by FDA  March 2007
  • Approved by SA MCC Feb 2008
  • Manufacturer: Glaxosmithkline, South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Actions (package insert details)

  • Helps Protect Against Two  Strains
  • Bivalent : Strains 16 And 18
  • The immune system will make antibodies against HPV types 16 and 18.
  • Has been shown to prevent HPV types 16 and 18 related diseases in women 15-25 Years of age
  • Cervarix® also stimulates production of antibodies in females 10-14 years of age.
  • Is not used to treat HPV related diseases already present at the time of vaccination.
  • In clinical trials, oral contraceptives (e.g. the pill) did not reduce the protection obtained by Cervarix®. not  given if person is allergic (hypersensitive) to any of the active substances or any of the other ingredients of Cervarix


  • Single Exit Price : R720.00

Each 0,5 ml dose contains:

  • human papilloma virus:
  • type 16 l 1 protein 20,0 μg
  • type 18 l 1 protein 20,0 μg
  • Given as an injection into the muscle of the upper arm.
    • First injection: at chosen date
    • Second injection: 1 month after first injection
    • Third injection: 6 months after first injection

Special care with Cervarix® if

  • has a bleeding problem or bruises easily.
  • has any disease which reduces her resistance to infection such as HIV infection
  • The duration of protection after vaccination is currently unknown.
  • Cervarix® may not have an optimal effect if used with medicines that suppress the immune system.
  • There are insufficient data concerning the use of Cervarix® during pregnancy.
  • Take doctor’s advice  about breast-feeding before receiving

Side Effects

  • Very common (side effects which may occur in more than 1 per 10 doses of vaccine):
    • pain or discomfort at the injection site
    • redness or swelling at the injection site
    • headache
    • aching muscles, muscle tenderness or weakness (not caused by exercise)
    • tiredness
  • Common (side effects which may occur in less than 1 per 10 but more than 1 per 100 doses of vaccine):
    • gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain
    • itching, red skin rash, hives (urticaria)
    • joint pain
    • fever (≥38°C)
  • Uncommon (side effects which may occur in less than 1 per 100 but more than 1 per 1,000 doses of vaccine):
    • upper respiratory tract infection (infection of the nose, throat or trachea)
    • dizziness
    • other injection site reactions such as hard lump, tingling or numbness.
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