What's new with the HPV vaccine?
Doc Smitty talks new Gardasil HPV vaccine
I’ve written about many of the myths regarding human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination before, ultimately concluding that it is safe, effective, does not lead to promiscuous behavior and that all three of my kids will get them when their time comes.
What is new?
A new study released yesterday in the online version of Pediatrics, discussed information on the use of the new Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine in pediatric patients age 9-15 years.
The previous Gardasil vaccination protected against four strains of HPV which account for about 70 percent of cervical cancers.
Gardasil 9 protects against (you guessed it) nine strains of HPV which account for 90 percent of cervical cancers. It also provides increased coverage from some other HPV strains that are related to other cancers such as vaginal and anal cancer.
Previous studies had shown that Gardasil 9 was very effective in the 16-26 year old age ranges. This new study was looking to compare the effectiveness in the 9-15 year old age range. How did it do? Awesome! Protection for all 9 strains was shown to be present in more than 99 percent of study participants at the end of the three dose course.
What does this mean?
There will be many less cases of HPV-related cancer. There will also be less need for procedures in those diagnosed with HPV to rule out or treat early cancerous lesions. These procedures have been linked to problems with fertility and if pregnancy occurs in the first year after treatment, can lead to miscarriage.
Gardasil 9 is available now or will be available soon at your pediatrician’s office to begin treatment for your child. Boys and girls 9 years of age and older can start the three dose series.
Children in the middle of the series with the older vaccine can complete the series with the newer vaccine. There is no current recommendation for giving Gardasil 9 in children who have completed the series with another HPV vaccination.
Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville. View more from The Doc Smitty at his Facebook page.He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his three young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues..