Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Paul Pino today applauded the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommends two doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for healthy 11- and 12-year-old boys and girls to prevent HPV-related cancers. This recommendation makes it easier for parents to protect their children by reducing, from three doses to two, the number of shots needed for optimal protection.
"HPV vaccination is an important cancer prevention tool, and today’s guidance from the CDC should give parents peace of mind that they can provide their children with safe, effective and long-lasting protection against these cancers with fewer shots and fewer visits to the doctor’s office at a lower cost," said Commissioner Pino. "Many national and international studies are demonstrating that HPV vaccination works very well and has reduced the incidence of genital warts and oral and cervical pre-cancers in young people since it was first made available 10 years ago."
The CDC advises that to follow the reduced 2 dose schedule, both HPV doses must be given to children before they reach 15 years of age, and must be spaced 6-12 months apart. According to the CDC, the optimal age to administer the vaccine is 11-12 years because preteens have a stronger immune response to HPV vaccine than do older adolescents, and because children are already receiving vaccinations for whooping cough and meningitis at those ages. Children who wait until after their 15th birthday to receive the vaccine will require 3 doses.
The latest HPV vaccination coverage estimates show that – while occurring at a slow pace – HPV vaccination is becoming more routine. Six out of 10 teen girls (63 percent) and five out of 10 teen boys (50 percent) in the United States have started the HPV vaccination series (i.e., received at least one dose of HPV vaccine), according to data from the 2015 National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen). Although the majority of teens have started the HPV vaccine series, only four out of ten teen girls (42 percent) and three out of 10 teen boys (28 percent) boys have completed the 3-dose HPV vaccination series.