The CDC has recommended that 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart rather than the previously recommended three doses to protect against cancers caused by human papillomavirus infections.

Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, will continue to need three doses, according to a CDC announcement released in October 2016.

“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 Tom Frieden. “This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time.”

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of experts that advises the CDC on vaccine recommendations, voted to recommend a two-dose vaccine schedule for young adolescents, and CDC director Frieden approved the recommendation.

Approved recommendations become agency guidelines on the date published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC and ACIP reviewed data from clinical trials showing two doses of HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (9-14 years) produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (16-26 years) who received three doses.

Generally, preteens receive HPV vaccine at the same time as whooping cough and meningitis vaccines. Two doses given at least 6 months apart at 11 and 12 years will provide safe, effective and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers, according to CDC.

Adolescents 13-14 can also receive HPV vaccination on the new two-dose schedule. 

Learn more at cdc.gov.

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