Twitter Facebook RSS Feed Print

HPV Vaccine: Fewer Doses Recommended for Preteens


Based on recent studies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is recommending that children 11 to 14 years old receive only two doses of the HPV vaccine instead of three.

The vaccine protects against cervical and other cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

However, the CDC says that teenagers and young adults who start the vaccinations later, between at ages 15 to 26, should continue with the three doses.

The new advice is based on a review of studies showing that two doses in the younger group “produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (aged 16 to 26 years) who received three doses,” the C.D.C. said in a statement. The two doses should be given at least six months apart, the agency said.

The government agency noted that the two-dose schedule should make the process easier for families and hopefully will increase the number of preteens getting the vaccine.  So far, despite the vaccine’s proven effectiveness, immunization rates have remained low.

HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses, according to the disease centers. They are spread by intimate, skin-to-skin contact, and by vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people become infected at some point. In most people, the immune system destroys the virus. But in some, the infection lingers. Some viral strains cause genital warts, and others can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis and back of the throat.

The vaccine is recommended for preteens and young teenagers, ideally before they become sexually active, because it works best if given before a person is exposed to HPV.

The CDC still recommends vaccination for young people who have already had sex, saying that it should provide “at least some protection.”

HPV vaccination rates are slowly rising for boys and girls as parents begin to understand the health benefits for their children. Many pediatricians are now recommending the vaccine as a regular part of a child’s inoculation routine.

Story source: Denise Grady,

Your Teen

HPV Vaccine, Proving Effective in Teenage Girls


While the controversy over the HPV vaccine may continue in some circles, a new study says the vaccine is proving effective in teenage girls.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced 10 years ago and its use immediately became a hot topic. The vaccine is recommended for young girls and boys ages 11 and 12, to protect them from the sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical as well as anal, penile, mouth and throat cancers. 

The study found that in teenage girls, the virus’s prevalence has been reduced by two-thirds.

Even for women in their early 20s, a group with lower vaccination rates, the most dangerous strains of HPV have still been reduced by more than a third.

“We’re seeing the impact of the vaccine as it marches down the line for age groups, and that’s incredibly exciting,” said Dr. Amy B. Middleman, the chief of adolescent medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, who was not involved in the study. “A minority of females in this country have been immunized, but we’re seeing a public health impact that is quite expansive.”

HPV vaccinations rates, in young girls and boys, have slowly been increasing, since the vaccine was introduced, but 4 out of 10 adolescent girls and 6 out of 10 adolescent boys have not started the recommended HPV vaccine series, leaving them vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV infections.

That is partly because of the implicit association of the vaccine with adolescent sexual activity, rather than with its explicit purpose: cancer prevention. Only Virginia, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia require the HPV vaccine.

The latest research examined HPV immunization and infection rates through 2012, but just in girls. The recommendation to vaccinate boys became widespread only in 2011; they will be included in subsequent studies.

Using data from a survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the study examined the prevalence of the virus in women and girls of different age groups during the pre-vaccine years of 2003 through 2006. (The vaccine was recommended for girls later in 2006.) Researchers then looked at the prevalence in the same age groups between 2009 and 2012.

By those later years, the prevalence of the four strains of HPV covered by the vaccine had decreased by 64 percent in girls ages 14 to 19. Among women ages 20 to 24, the prevalence of those strains had declined 34 percent. The rates of HPV in women 25 and older had not fallen.

“The vaccine is more effective than we thought,” said Debbie Saslow, a public health expert in HPV vaccination and cervical cancer at the American Cancer Society. As vaccinated teenagers become sexually active, they are not spreading the virus, so “they also protect the people who haven’t been vaccinated,” she said.

Many doctors are pressing for primary care providers to strongly recommend the HPV vaccine in tandem with the other two that preteen children now typically receive.

Many health experts are hoping that the positive results from this study will encourage more pediatricians and primary care physicians to discuss getting the vaccine with parents of young children.

The study was published in the online journal Pediatrics.

Source: Jan Hofman,

Your Child

AAP Recommends HPV Vaccine for Boys

2.00 to read

In 2006 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that girls, ages 11-12, receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV can cause cervical cancer, and girls have been the prime focus for the vaccination.

The AAP has published new guidelines for the use of the HPV vaccine and now recommends that adolescent boys also receive the vaccine. The vaccine has been available to boys for two years but Tuesday’s vote was the first to strongly recommend routine vaccination.

The new recommendations were prompted by evidence that the HPV vaccine is effective as a treatment against genital warts in both males and females. HPV infection has been associated with an increased risk for not only cervical, but anal and some throat cancers as well.

The AAP recommends that the vaccine be administered at 11 to 12 years of age in both boys and girls. Their rationale is two-fold: First, the vaccine is most effective if it is administered before the individual begins engaging in sexual activity, mainly because the vaccine is inactive against HPV strains acquired before vaccination. Second, children mount the most robust antibody responses to the vaccine when they are between the ages of 9 and 15 years.

Two HPV vaccines are currently available in the United States, but there are differences in their approved indications. Quadrivalent HPV vaccine (HPV4, Gardasil, Merck) is the only vaccine approved for use in boys.

Bivalent HPV vaccine (HPV2, Cervarix, GlaxoSmithKline) is only approved for use in girls; HPV4 is also approved for girls.

Some of the updated AAP recommendations are:

  • Girls aged 11 to 12 years should be routinely immunized using 3 doses of the HPV4 or HPV2 vaccine, administered intramuscularly at 0, 1 to 2, and 6 months.
  • Girls and women aged from 13 to 26 years who have not been previously immunized or who have not completed their vaccinations should finish the series.
  • Boys aged 11 to 12 years should be routinely immunized with HPV4, using the same schedule as for girls.
  • Boys and men aged from 13 to 21 years who have not already been immunized or who have not completed their vaccines should finish the series.

Some health insurance policies now pay for the vaccine. If you do not have insurance and your child is not eligible for free immunizations, the HPV vaccine is expensive. Check with your pediatrician about your area’s cost.

The recommendations are published online and in the March print issue of Pediatrics.

There is a lot of online information available on HPV and the vaccine; some is very helpful and some can be unreliable. If you have concerns or questions, please talk with your pediatrician.

The vaccine is recommended for adolescents who are not yet sexually active. Many young people believe that oral sex is safer than vaginal sex and some believe that oral sex is not sex at all. A sharp rise in throat cancer among younger men has been linked to HPV. Vaccines can protect males and females against some of the most common types of HPV that can lead to disease and cancer, but they do not treat or get rid of existing HPV infections.

For more facts on the HPV vaccine and HPV in general, check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at:


Your Child

Doctors May Unknowingly Discourage HPV Vaccine for Preteens


The majority of physicians say that the HPV vaccine given to preteens, before they become sexually active, can help prevent infections with viruses that can cause cervical, penile and anal cancers as well as genital warts.

However, about 27 percent of doctors may inadvertently discourage parents from having their preteens vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a new study, because they don’t recommend the vaccine strongly enough.

Pediatricians and family physicians deliver the bulk of HPV vaccines. Some of these physicians do not offer the vaccines as strongly as they do when urging parents to vaccinate against meningococcal disease or to get tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis booster shots, the study reported.

The study, which is based on a national online survey of 776 doctors, found a quarter did not strongly endorse the need for HPV vaccination with the parents of the 11- and 12-year-olds under their care.

Nearly 60 percent were more likely to recommend the vaccine for adolescents they thought were at higher risk of becoming infected — perhaps because the doctors knew or suspected they were sexually active — than for all 11- and 12-year-olds.

“You kind of get the sense that some [health care] providers see this as a somewhat uncomfortable situation,” said lead author Melissa Gilkey, a behavioral scientist in the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Many parents don’t like to think about the possibility of their child having sex, particularly when they are only 11 or 12 years old. The vaccine is actually meant to provide protection for when they are older. That’s why it is recommended before a child typically begins engaging in sexual activity. Studies have also shown preteens get the best immune response to the vaccines.

Evidence generated by one of Gilkey’s earlier studies suggests it’s not necessarily parents that are squeamish about the vaccination, but physicians that overestimate a parent’s response when the vaccination is urged. 

 “It’s not necessarily that physicians always are negative about it. But it’s kind of that HPV vaccine may get damned with faint praise, if you will,” Gilkey said. “Compared to the way that they recommend these other vaccines, parents may suspect that there’s something wrong with it.”

The aim of the research is to help figure out why HPV vaccination rates remain disappointingly low. The CDC reported that in 2014, 40 percent of adolescent girls and 22 percent of adolescent boys had received the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine. The agency says girls and boys should have all three doses by their 13th birthday.

According to the study, how the information is presented has an impact on how well it is received. Doctors who started conversations about the HPV vaccination by telling parents the vaccines protect against cancers and genital warts gave stronger recommendations than those who opened saying HPV viruses are sexually transmitted.

The study was published Thursday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Although Gilkey declared no conflicts of interest, the senior author of the study, Noel Brewer of the University of North Carolina, has received research funding and speaker fees from companies that sell HPV vaccines.

Source: Helen Branswell,






Your Child

Why the HPV Vaccine is Important for Girls and Boys


The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been embroiled in controversy almost from the day it was announced.  Many parents found the idea of giving their young daughter or son a vaccine to prevent a sexually transmitted disease (STD) repugnant. When some states included the vaccine as a requirement for school entry, the cry of government overreach rang out loud and clear.

However, as more information about the benefits of the vaccine becomes known, vaccinations have slowly been climbing.  Health officials say that compliance is nowhere near what it should be and that the opportunity to reduce 6 cancers is being lost.

Cancers linked to the sexually transmitted HPV keep rising in the United States, even though most cases are preventable, health officials said in a recent report.

Cancer experts say the public perception of the vaccine needs to change.

"In order to increase HPV vaccination rates, we must change the perception of the HPV vaccine from something that prevents a sexually transmitted disease to a vaccine that prevents cancer," said Electra Paskett. She is co-director of the Cancer Control Research Program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer in Columbus.

"Every parent should ask the question: If there was a vaccine I could give my child that would prevent them from developing six different cancers, would I give it to them? The answer would be a resounding yes -- and we would have a dramatic decrease in HPV-related cancers across the globe," Paskett added.

At current rates, these sexually linked cancers are developing in almost 12 of every 100,000 persons, the CDC said. In the previous five-year period, fewer than 33,500 of these HPV-linked cancers were diagnosed annually.

Using data from national cancer registries, CDC analysts looked for certain cancer types -- cervical, head and neck, and anal, among them -- that have links to HPV.

When looked at closely, researchers confirmed the HPV connection in 79 percent of cases.

The agency estimates that as many as 28,500 of these were preventable with recommended HPV vaccination.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine HPV vaccination of males and females at 11-12 years of age. The vaccine is most effective if administered before the onset of sexual activity, and antibody responses to the vaccine are highest at ages 9 through 15 years. Immunization of children against HPV infection will help prevent cancers and genital warts caused by HPV.

Even though no parent likes to think about their child growing up and being sexually active- most children will become young adults and eventually have families of their own. This vaccine protects against HPV, a disease that is strongly linked to 6 deadly cancers. It is most effective when administered to children between the ages of 9 and 15. That is why it is important for young boy and girls – as simple as that.

Story sources: Margaret Farley Steele,

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.



Keeping it fun for kids with food allergies during Halloween.

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.


Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.