CDC Recommends Only Two HPV Shots for Younger Adolescents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at least six months apart rather than the previously recommended three 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 three doses, CDC says.

"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. "This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time."

Based on a review of the medical literature, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend a two-dose HPV vaccine schedule for young adolescents. CDC and ACIP reviewed data from clinical trials showing two doses of HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (aged 9 to 14 years) produced an immune response similar to or higher than the response in young adults (aged 16 to 26 years) who received three doses.

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

CDC will provide guidance to parents, health professionals, and insurers on the change in recommendation. The Food and Drug Administration last month approved adding a two-dose schedule for 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) for adolescents aged 9 through 14 years. CDC encourages clinicians to begin implementing the two-dose schedule in their practices to protect their preteen patients from HPV cancers. 

Action, Nov. 1, 2016

Last Updated On

October 31, 2016

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