CDC Recommends Reduction in HPV Doses

November 10, 2016

Children aged less than 15 years should receive 2 doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine given 6 months apart rather than the previously recommended 3 doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised. Adolescents and young adults who begin the vaccine series at ages 15 through 26 will still require 3 doses though.

The CDC recommendation comes following a vote from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). After the vote, the CDC approved the recommendations and incorporated them into the agency’s guidelines.

A review of studies led to the new recommendation. Clinical trials indicated that younger adolescents (aged 9-14 years) who received 2 vaccine doses had the same immune response or higher response to HPV than older individuals (aged 16 to 26 years) who received 3 vaccine doses.

The new dosing schedule will make it easier to ensure protection against cancer caused by HPV infection.  “Safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers with two visits instead of three means more Americans will be protected from cancer,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a statement. “This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time.”

In addition to changing the number of overall doses from 3 to 2 for younger adolescents (under age 15), the new schedule also increases the time between doses from 1 to 2 months to 6 months. For older adolescents and young adults (15 to 26 years), the dosing schedule of 3 inoculations within 6 months remains unchanged.

This October, the FDA approved a 2-dose schedule for 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) for adolescents aged 9 through 14 years. “CDC encourages clinicians to begin implementing the 2-dose schedule in their practice to protect their preteen patients from HPV cancers,” the agency stated.

—Lauren LeBano


CDC recommends only two HPV shots for younger adolescents [press release]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. October 19, 2016.