Two-Dose HPV Vaccine Series Recommended for Preteens

CDC now recommends a 2-dose series of the HPV vaccination in children 11 to 12 years of age.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is often recommended for young adolescents as an early preventive measure against HPV. The CDC is now recommending a 2-dose series of the HPV vaccination, rather than the previously recommended 3 doses, in children 11 to 12 years of age.

Previously, the HPV vaccine was given in 3 shots. The second shot was typically given 1 or 2 months after the first shot, followed by the third shot 6 months later.

On October 19, 2016, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to change the HPV vaccine recommendation for young adolescents from 3 doses to 2 doses. The CDC and ACIP revised the previous recommendation after reviewing data from clinical trials showing that 2 doses of the HPV vaccine in younger adolescents produced an immune response similar to, or higher than, the response in young adults who received 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, in a press release. “This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time.”

Based on the data review, it was determined that 2 doses of the HPV vaccine given at least 6 months apart to adolescents aged 11 to 12 years will provide effective and long-term protection against HPV cancers. Under the updated recommendation, adolescents aged 13 to 14 years are also able to receive the 2-dose schedule of HPV vaccinations.

On October 7, 2016, the FDA approved adding a 2-dose schedule for 9-valent HPV vaccine for adolescents aged 9 to 14 years. Providing fewer shots will allow a more efficient and effective means of protecting preteens against the virus.

The CDC encourages health care providers to implement the 2-dose schedule to protect their adolescent patients from cancer-causing HPV infections.