CDC's ACIP Recommends Expanded HPV Vaccine Age Range for Some

The advisory board voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend HPV vaccines for people through age 26.

Officials with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted to recommend human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, based on shared clinical decision making for individuals 27 through 45 years of age who are not adequately vaccinated.

The ACIP also recommended expanding routine and catch-up recommendations for boys and men through 26 years of age who are not adequately vaccinated. The CDC currently recommends routine vaccination of individuals at 11-12 years of age, and vaccination can begin at age 9. If approved by the CDC's director, these recommendations would expanded the recommendations to include females and males 13-26 years of age who have not previously been vaccinated, and for adults 27-45 years of age the decision to vaccinate would be made between an individual and their healthcare provider.

In the US, almost half of new HPV infections occur in adults 25 years of age or older. Approximately 23,000 Americans are diagnosed with cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers associated with HPV every year, according to latest published incidence from 2015. Merck's Gardasil 9 protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

Following the recommendation, Christopher M. Zahn, MD, Vice President of Practice Activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), issued a statement praising the recommendation, noting: "The HPV vaccine can be important prevention for individual patients and for the population at large. Obstetrician-gynecologists are encouraged to discuss with their patients ages 27 to 45 the potential benefits of HPV vaccination, addressing the reduced efficacy compared to vaccination within the younger target age range as well as the reduced risk of high-grade disease and cervical cancer. Women’s decisions will also likely consider their individual circumstances, preferences, and concerns, and the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist is to provide unbiased information in a balanced, thorough way in order to aid that decision-making."

Details of the ACIP recommendations for the HPV vaccines will be available from the CDC. The provisional recommendations are reviewed by the director of the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services and final recommendations will become official when published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

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