Published: Wed, October 26, 2016
Medical | By Garry George

Preteens need only two rounds of HPV vaccine, CDC says

Preteens need only two rounds of HPV vaccine, CDC says

Beginning in 2006, safe and effective vaccines became available to prevent cancers associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. However, just 42% of U.S. teen girls and 28% of teen boys have received all three recommended doses.

The CDC encourages health care providers to implement the 2-dose schedule to protect their adolescent patients from cancer-causing HPV infections.

Last week, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that adolescents under age 15 years get only two doses of the vaccine instead of three doses, with the second dose administered six to 12 months after the first dose. It also said teens 13 and 14 can be vaccinated on the two-dose schedule. Remember both boys and girls need the vaccine which can be given as young as age 9, but is usually started at age 11.

"Too often, patients were missing out on one of the vaccine shots", she explained.

A new study from the University of New Mexico has found a significant decrease in the incidence rate of cervical abnormalities among women aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 years old, a result that researchers attribute to New Mexico's HPV vaccination program which began in 2007. Dr. Wheeler says that's because as time goes on, larger numbers of young women are getting the vaccine.

Merck, the maker of Gardasil, is now airing an ad on national television that puts the onus on parents to get their children vaccinated.

The new advice is based on a review of data from clinical trials.

Young people 16 to 23-years-old can also elect to have this immunization without high-risk and then may have only two doses of the Trumenba brand vaccine at least six months apart. Still, more than 38,000 cases of HPV-associated cancers occur in the United States every year. "Many national and global studies are demonstrating that HPV vaccination works very well and has reduced the incidence of genital warts and oral and cervical pre-cancers in young people since it was first made available 10 years ago".

Dr. Mitchell Maiman, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Staten Island Hospital in New York City, supports the new recommendation. The Food and Drug Administration two weeks ago said it could be given in two doses.

According to the government, an estimated 24,600 newly diagnosed cancers each year "are attributable to the two high-risk HPV types targeted by all now licensed HPV vaccines, and an additional 3,800 are attributable to the five additional high-risk HPV types included in the 9-valent HPV vaccine".

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