The CDC has announced that children under 15 years of age need only two doses of the HPV vaccine rather than the previously recommended three shots. The vaccine protects against infection with sexually transmitted HPV (human papillomavirus), which can cause cervical and other cancers.
Those who start receiving the vaccinations later -- at ages 15 to 26 -- still need three doses of the vaccine, according to the updated guidelines.
"Safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers with two visits instead of three means more Americans will be protected from cancer," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. "This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time."
The agency recommends that children ages 11 and 12 receive two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart, and the same schedule applies to 13- and 14-year-olds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics predicts that the two-dose schedule should make it easier to complete the series. Previously, parents had to juggle their schedules and their children’s to fit in three trips to the doctor within six months.
The new CDC policy is based on a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of experts that advises the CDC on vaccines.
WESTMED Pediatrics will be following the CDC’s new recommendations for HPV vaccinations.