Fort Worth, Texas,
16:47 PM

Protection From HPV Now Easier for Kids

New recommendations from CDC on Human Papillomavirus vaccine schedule

The vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) works even better than originally thought and that’s good news for children 11-14 years of age.

New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires only two doses of the vaccine spread over six months for younger teens 11-14 years of age. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the body that formulates recommendations on how the vaccines which are licensed by the FDA should be used in this country, voted for the change.

The ACIP says older teens and young adults, ages 15 to 26, will still need three doses because they don’t have as robust a response as younger teens.

“This is good news because it will mean that more younger teens can be considered fully vaccinated if they complete their series of two doses over six months prior to their 15th birthday,” said Jason V. Terk, a Cook Children’s pediatrician in Keller and someone who has been at the forefront of HPV vaccination efforts. “Fewer doses means better compliance with this important cancer-preventing vaccine.”

Under the new schedule, the first of two doses of the HPV vaccine should be administered at 11 or 12, although it could be given as early as 9, as under the previous guidance. The second dose would be administered six to 12 months after the first dose.

According to the CDC, about 80 million Americans are infected with HPV; in most cases, the immune system clears the infection. Still, more than 38,000 cases of HPV-associated cancers occur in the United States every year.

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About the Source

Jason Terk, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Keller. He earned his medical degree from University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine (Mayo Clinic) in Rochester, Minnesota. His interests include public policy advocacy for children's health issues, focusing primarily on vaccines. Dr. Terk is board-certified in pediatrics.

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