Just Two Doses

Teens who start the HPV series before the age of 15 years will now only need 2 doses of HPV vaccine instead of 3.

The vaccine for HPV prevents cancers caused by the human papilloma virus. It’s recommended for both boys and girls between the ages of 11-26 years. This vaccine has been extensively studied since it came on the market in 2006. Studies have shown that younger teens make more antibodies and develop a stronger immune response from this vaccine than older teens and young adults. This seems to be the case even when the number of doses is reduced to two.

After thorough review of the evidence, the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices)—the organization in charge of creating and optimizing our vaccine schedule—has changed its recommendation for the HPV vaccines; from now on, teens who get vaccinated before they turn 15 years old only need two doses of the HPV vaccine to complete the series.

What extra information can we glean from this new recommendation? First, vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, are continuously surveyed for safety and effectiveness. Second, all the new information that is gathered is reviewed by the ACIP to ensure that vaccine recommendations and vaccine schedules are consistent with the evidence. Lastly, vaccine recommendations  are reviewed twice a year to ensure that the number and timing of doses of each vaccine are optimized. The basis for all vaccine recommendations is and always will be to recommend the least amount of doses that will provide the greatest protection.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html