Czechia plans to extend the age range for HPV vaccine reimbursement

A legislative proposal increasing the number of vaccination sites also addressed the safety of drinking water supplies.


Written by ČTK Published on 31.05.2023 11:30:00 (updated on 31.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The age range for the voluntary vaccination of girls and boys against human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal disease is likely to be extended, based on the Senate amendments to the government's public health protection bill, which the lower house approved yesterday.

The Senate included these proposals in a bill that originally dealt only with the safety of drinking water supplies, which will now be presented to President Petr Pavel for signature.

Vaccination against HPV, which covers cervical cancer, is now covered by public health insurance for people between the ages of 13 and 14. The approved amendment extends this "vaccination category" to ages 11 to 15. Similarly, the age range for youth meningococcal vaccinations, which the state now pays for girls and boys between 14 and 15, will be widened to cover ages between 14 and 16. "This is all in line with scientific findings," Senator Roman Kraus (Civic Democrats, ODS) told the MPs.

According to 2022, approximately 800 cervical cancer cases are diagnosed each year in the Czech Republic and around 300 women die from this disease. Regular check-ups are the easiest thing women can do for their health.

Kraus hopes to increase the number of vaccination sites by enacting a general option for public health officers and epidemiologists to vaccinate, which would enable around 300 more doctors to vaccinate.

The Chamber of Deputies also approved the Senate's proposals concerning the issuance of permits for exceeding noise and vibration limits, for example for motorways and railways. They will no longer be temporary, but the authorities will be able to review them at any time, for example on the basis of new scientific and technical findings in noise reduction.

The government's original amendment will require water supply operators to outline a plan of risks and solutions for the entire system from the water source to customers' taps. Health, social care, and accommodation facilities would need individual risk assessments for the spread of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, and lead in old buildings.

Water operators are currently required to check the quality of the water they supply. The extent of these checks will be based on the risk assessment, which will be a three-stage process reviewing raw water intake points, water pipes, and water distribution systems in buildings.

The lower house also used the amendment to abolish the requirement for people working in the food industry to have a special license, which was issued indefinitely; and to extend the ban on distinctive flavors and aromas for heated tobacco products, as required by a European directive.

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