HPV Vaccine Changes Dosage Requirements

Good news for children age 14 and under: the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine now only requires two shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that children can now receive one less shot than previously required, and still effectively protect themselves against HPV.

The CDC made the changes saying that, “Safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers with two visits instead of three, means more Americans will be protected from cancer.”

Health Talk spoke with Annie-Laurie McRee, DrPH, an assistant professor and deputy director in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, about the recent changes and what effects they might have. She is also a Masonic Cancer Center member.

“The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended these changes after studies found that two doses of the vaccine offers the same protection as three doses for this age group,” explained McRee.

“The big thing changing is the recommended number of doses for those up to age 15. The HPV vaccine is still recommended for routine administration to all 11-12 year olds and can still be given as young as age 9 and up to age 26.”

To break down the recent changes, Health Talk asked McRee four simple questions about the new regulations.

What’s the change and why did it occur?

This is an exciting development that has already been implemented in several other countries and is recommended by the World Health organization. This change could boost HPV vaccination rates (which are below those of other adolescent vaccines) and ultimately help ensure that more young people are protected against HPV related cancers.

What does this mean for pre-teens?

The bottom line is that this means they will need to get fewer shots (and who wouldn’t prefer that)?

What does this mean for parents?

For parents, this translates into fewer visits to a provider and potentially lower costs, while still providing the same benefits. This will make getting their child vaccinated on time easier and, hopefully, more acceptable.

What does this mean for providers?

This simplifies procedures and scheduling for providers. The number of doses and the timing of the new recommendation will also make it easier to coordinate with other vaccines recommended for adolescents.

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