An app offering cross-border HPV vaccination against cervical cancer has been questioned for potential regulatory violations and safety concerns, reports the Beijing Youth Daily.
Currently there are three human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines around the world which protect against either two, four, or nine types of HPV. All of them protect against at least HPV type 16 and 18 that cause 70% of cervical cancers.
The vaccine against two types of HPV, which is only for females aged between 9 and 25 years old, began to be offered in China on July 31, 2017. Another which counters four types of HPV for women aged 20-45 has obtained certifications and is expected to be on the market at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
However, the vaccine against 9 HPV types, which hasn't been certified in China yet, is still preferred, as it provides greater protection.
Many mainland women have chosen to take the vaccination in Hong Kong. Those who do need to go to Hong Kong three times within half a year to take the three doses of the vaccines needed for immunization.
However, an app called "doctors and nurses to your home" has recently begun to offer a cross-border HPV vaccination service to reduce the inconvenience and travel costs.
According to the service, a customer will be given the first dose in Hong Kong or Macao, then be given the remaining two doses within a portable vaccine refrigeration box, which she can take back home and refrigerate. The service then provides her with the information of a nurse who will administer the remaining two doses after the customer makes appointments.
The service says the nurses working for it are from top hospitals. However, it's not clear whether these nurses have received training on how to administer vaccinations, which is required by health authorities.
Officials from health departments in Beijing are saying this cross-border vaccination service doesn't conform to current regulations and should not be encouraged.
"It is hard to guarantee the effectiveness of vaccines simply putting them in a refrigeration box. It will also be difficult to deal with possible adverse reactions at home without proper health facilities," said an official.
A manager with the app has told the Beijing Youth Daily that they will consider canceling the service if the service doesn't prove popular due to safety concerns.