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CDC Recommends Only Two HPV Shots for Younger Adolescents

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Key Points

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.

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.

“Safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers with 2 visits instead of 3 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. ACIP is a panel of experts that advises the CDC on vaccine recommendations in the United States. CDC Director Frieden approved the committee’s recommendations shortly after the vote. ACIP recommendations approved by the CDC Director become agency guidelines on the date published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 

Basis for Recommendation

The CDC and ACIP made this recommendation after a thorough review of studies over several meetings. CDC and ACIP reviewed data from clinical trials showing 2 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 3 doses.

Generally, preteens receive HPV vaccine at the same time as whooping cough and meningitis vaccines. Two doses of 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 (FDA) approved adding a 2-dose schedule for 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) for adolescents aged 9 through 14 years. The CDC encourages clinicians to begin implementing the 2-dose schedule in their practice to protect their preteen patients from HPV cancers.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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