|Photo Source: Jan Christian via Wikimedia|
To add to the confusion and misinformation that circulates regarding the safety of the vaccine (which I don't have room to go into here, but is discussed here, here, here, and visually here), the vaccine itself has changed (covering 9 strains now compared to the initial 4 strains) and the dosing schedule is changing.
Don't presume the change in vaccine schedule is to answer the calls of the anti-HPV vaccine crowd. That isn't needed because their claims have been debunked (see all the articles referenced above).
Dosing schedule ~ Happy News!
There is research that supports giving just two doses at least 6 months apart. A two dose schedule was approved earlier in Europe and this week was approved by the FDA in the US for children 9 to 14 years of age. The two doses should be given 6-12 months apart, which means for most kids they can get the vaccine at two regularly scheduled well visits (such as the 11 year exam and the 12 year exam) and not have to come in for additional visits.
The data support continuing a 3 dose series in those 15 years and up. This means they can get the 2nd dose 2 months after the 1st dose and then a 3rd dose at least 4 months after the 2nd dose and 6 months after the 1st dose.
The official ACIP Meeting Information is not yet available, but will be posed within 90 days of the October 19-20 meeting. (Note: I originally stated this was an October 11 meeting.)
I know that the two dose series will make many kids happy ~ one less shot for the same protection!
If two doses have already been given at less than 6 months apart or if the teen is 15 years and older, the third dose will still be needed.
Addendum:I don't want to confuse everyone... the FDA has approved a new schedule, but the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will need to give their input before the schedule actually changes. That will be decided at their October 19-20 meeting.
One last addendum:
- Kids who get the first HPV vaccine before their 15th birthday need two doses 6-12 months apart.
- Kids who have turned 15 years old before the first dose should use the 3 dose series.
- Kids who have gotten a 2nd dose less than 6 months after the first (regardless of age) need the 3rd dose.