The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on October 19 recommended that 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart rather than the previously recommended three doses to protect against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. Teens and young adults who start the series later, at 15 through 26, will continue to need three doses of the HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV 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, 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 to recommend a two-dose HPV vaccine schedule for young adolescents. The ACIP 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. ACIP recommendations approved by the CDC director become agency guidelines on the date published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The CDC and the ACIP made this recommendation after a thorough review of studies over several meetings. The CDC and the ACIP reviewed data from clinical trials showing two doses of HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (9-14) produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (16-26) who received three doses.
Generally, preteens receive the HPV vaccine at the same time as whooping cough and meningitis vaccines. Two doses of HPV vaccine given at least six months apart at 11 and 12 will provide safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers. Adolescents 13-14 are also able to receive the HPV vaccination on the new two-dose schedule.
The CDC will provide guidance to parents, physicians and other health care professionals, and insurers on the change in recommendations. On October 7, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved adding a two-dose schedule for 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil® 9) for adolescents 9 through 14. The CDC encourages clinicians to begin implementing the two-dose schedule in their practice to protect their preteen patients from HPV cancers.
The ACIP, CDC, FDA and partners monitor vaccines in use in the United States year round. These updated recommendations are an example of using the latest available evidence to provide the best possible protection against serious diseases.