Oral cancer rates among adults continue to climb due to the spread of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Yet the HPV vaccine has shown early success in preventing the virus’ spread among younger generations. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is revising its guidelines to make its administration easier, recommending that 11- to 12-year-olds receive just 2 doses at least 6 months apart, rather than 3 doses.
“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.”
Teens and young adults who start the series later, between the ages of 15 and 26 years, will continue to need 3 doses of the vaccine to protect themselves against cancer-causing HPV infections. Generally, preteens receive the HPV vaccine at the same time as whooping cough and meningitis vaccines. Adolescents who are 13 or 14 years old now also can receive the HPV vaccination on the new 2-dose schedule.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a panel of experts that advises the CDC on vaccine recommendations in the United States, voted on the new guidelines on October 19. Frieden approved the new recommendations shortly after the committee’s vote. ACIP recommendations approved by the director become agency guidelines on the date published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The CDC now will provide guidance to parents, healthcare professionals, and insurers on the changes in the recommendations. On October 9, the US Food and Drug Administration approved adding a 2-dose schedule for 9-valent HPV vaccine for adolescents ages 9 through 14 years. The CDC encourages clinicians to begin implementing the 2-dose schedule in their practice to protect preteen patients from HPV cancers.
HPV Rates Decline Among Young Women
Dentists May Play a Greater Role in HPV Vaccination
HPV-Associated Oral Cancers Are on the Rise