CDC Recommends Only Two HPV Shots for Younger Adolescents


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that 11- to 12-year-olds receive 2 doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at least 6 months apart rather than the previously recommended 3 doses to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections. Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, will continue to need 3 doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

“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, MD, MPH. “This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time.”

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted October 19 to recommend a 2-dose HPV vaccine schedule for young adolescents. The committee is a panel of experts that advises the CDC on vaccine recommendations in the United States. Dr. Frieden approved the committee’s recommendations shortly after the vote. Advisory Committee recommendations approved by the CDC Director become agency guidelines on the date they are published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Basis for Recommendation

The CDC and ACIP made this recommendation after a thorough review of studies over several meetings. The CDC and ACIP reviewed data from clinical trials showing two doses of HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (aged 9–14 years) produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (aged 16–26 years) who received three doses.

Generally, preteens receive the HPV vaccine at the same time as whooping cough and meningitis vaccines. Two doses of the HPV vaccine given at least 6 months apart at ages 11 and 12 years will provide safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers. Adolescents aged 13 to 14 are also able to receive HPV vaccination on the new 2-dose schedule.

The CDC will provide guidance to parents, health-care professionals, and insurers on the change in recommendation. On October 7, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved adding a 2-dose schedule for 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) for adolescents ages 9 through 14 years. The CDC encourages clinicians to begin implementing the two-dose schedule in their practice to protect their preteen patients from HPV cancers. ■



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