©istockphoto.com / Wojciech Gajda
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised their recommendation regarding preteens and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. Kids 11-12 years old can receive the shots on a two-dose schedule at least six months apart. It was previously recommended that they get the vaccine in three doses.
After many reviews and clinical trials, studies find that younger adolescents nine to 14 years old have similar or higher immune responses to two rounds of shots than 15-26 year-olds who get three doses. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the CDC’s immunization panel, voted to change the recommendation as a result.
Teens and young adults 15 and up still need three shots in order to be fully protected.
The vaccine defends against certain strains of HPV that can cause genital warts and various types of cancer, including cervical. Despite the benefits of the shot, teens have a history of not always finishing all three rounds. In 2014, only 40 percent of girls 13-17 got all three rounds while 60 percent got at least one round.
Furthermore, the study found that only 42 percent of boys got all three rounds of the vaccine. Contrary to what many parents may think, doctors recommend boys get the shot, too.
The CDC is hoping that the two-dose schedule encourages patients to actually complete the treatment. Aside from parents saving a trip to the doc, taking your 11-12 year old is simpler because that’s also when they get meningitis and Tdap shots. Preteens also have higher immune responses and are less likely to have become sexually active at their young age.
If you have a 13-14 year old adolescent, don’t worry; they’re able to request a two-dose vaccine schedule, too.