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CDC: Two Dose Series of HPV Vaccine Instead of Three for Preteens

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CDC Recommends Two Doses of HPV Vaccine for Preteens

UPDATED: November 2, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a statement recommending the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine be given to preteens, 11 and 12-years-old, in a two dose series versus three. The CDC still advises teens and young adults between the ages of 15- and 26-years-old who receive the HPV vaccine to receive the previously recommended three doses. 

“It's the same vaccine, but recent research has found that two shots separated by six months are just as good as three in this age group,” Nathan Boonstra, M.D., UnityPoint Health, says. “This means young adolescents need one less shot to protect them against HPV, which is the cause of nearly all cervical cancers, and causes a variety of other cancers in males and females. The vaccine prevents infection from the types of HPV that cause about 80 percent of all cervical cancers.”

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On February 1, 2016, the CDC released an updated vaccination schedule, specifically recommending changes to when and what type of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is given to older children and teens.

The update suggests children (both boys and girls) who have experienced sexual abuse should receive the HPV vaccine at ages 9-10. For boys and girls not exposed to sexual abuse, the recommended age range to receive the vaccine remains at 11-12. In addition, the CDC is now stating the HPV-9 vaccine should be the preferred HPV vaccine, as it protects against nine different types of HPV infections, including cervical cancer, mouth and throat cancer and more.

National Public Radio (NPR) also explains longevity of the vaccine’s protective benefits, citing how results of clinical trials indicate antibodies can remain for approximately 30 or more years post-vaccination. 

HPV infection is extremely common, affecting millions of Americans each year. Young men and women who did not receive the vaccine when they were within the recommended age range can still receive the vaccine through ages 21 (men) and 26 (women).