Fewer HPV Shots Now Recommended for Younger Adolescents, Offering Greater Incentive to Prevent HPV
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Fewer HPV Shots Now Recommended for Younger Adolescents, Offering Greater Incentive to Prevent HPV

It is now recommended that they receive two doses rather than three

October 24, 2016

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has recommended that 11- to 12-year-olds get two doses at least six months apart of the vaccine against cancers caused by human papillomavirus infections (HPV). The previous recommendation was three doses.

Teenagers and adolescents who begin receiving the vaccines later—at ages 15 through 26—should continue to receive three doses to protect against the infection.

"Safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers with two visits instead of three means more Americans will be protected from cancer," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time."

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—a panel of experts that provides advice to the CDC regarding vaccine recommendations in the U.S. —voted to recommend the revised schedule for young adolescents. Shortly after the vote, CDC Director Frieden approved the recommendations. Recommendations by the ACIP that are approved by the director of the CDC become agency guidelines on the date that is published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The recommendation was made after a thorough review of studies was conducted over the course of several meetings. The CDC and ACIP examined data gathering in clinical trials indicating that two doses of the vaccine in adolescents aged nine to 14 produced an immune response that was similar or even higher than that in young adults aged 16 to 26 who were given three doses.

Preteens generally receive the HPV vaccine at the same time as those for whooping cough and meningitis. Two doses of the vaccine given at ages 11 and 12, at least six months apart, will provide safe, efficacious, and long-lasting protection. Adolescents aged 13 and 13 may also receive the vaccine on the revised schedule.

Parents, healthcare professionals, and insurers will receive guidance on the revised recommendation from the CDC. The CDC is encouraging healthcare professionals to begin implementing the new vaccine schedule in their practice to provide protection against HPV cancers for their preteen patients.