Panel Supports HPV Vaccination through Age 45

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today made two recommendations regarding the use the human papilloma (HPV) vaccine.

  • The ACIP harmonized recommendations for men and women, saying all men and women should receive the vaccine up to age 26.
  • The ACIP recommended shared clinical decision making for men and women ages 27-45.

gardasil_vaccine_and_boxThe American Cancer Society recommends routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys  starting at age 11 or 12, and as early as age 9. HPV vaccination is also recommended for females 13 to 26 years old and for males 13 to 21 years old who have not started the vaccines, or who have started but not completed the series.  Males 22 to 26 years old may also be vaccinated. 

We asked Debbie Saslow, PhD, managing director, HPV & GYN cancers, to weigh in on the news.

“The ACIP recommendation for catch-up vaccination for men and women through age 26 is simpler and more feasible for communicating and implementing vaccination efforts.

“It’s important to note that in their second recommendation, the ACIP did not recommend routine vaccination for patients between 27 and 45. Rather, the panel said those patients should discuss with their clinician whether a catch-up vaccination is right for them. Guidance will be needed to assist clinicians and patients in making  these decisions. While HPV vaccination is safe for adults aged 27-45 years, there are limited health benefits gained vaccinating people in this age range. It’s important to note that insurance coverage may be delayed until the recommendation is officially published—usually a few months after the ACIP vote.

“Even with today’s recommendation, the primary focus of efforts by the ACS and others will continue to be increasing vaccination in early adolescents. HPV vaccination efforts will still be focused on on-time vaccination at ages 11-12, or starting at age nine, based on strong evidence that on-time vaccination will prevent about 90% of HPV cancers. Evidence has further shown that vaccination at older ages will have limited impact on preventing cancer. It will be important to determine which individuals would be most likely to benefit from vaccination at older ages as well as how to best communicate with individuals inquiring about adult vaccination.

“These new recommendations and the evidence supporting them will be reviewed by the American Cancer Society’s independent guidelines review committee. For now, our recommendations remain unchanged. Further, women who have been vaccinated should continue to follow cervical cancer screening recommendations.”

For more information on HPV vaccination, visit: www.cancer.org/hpv

**Edited June 27 to emphasize that the recommendation is not for routine vaccination in adults 27-45.

About David Sampson

I am the director of medical and scientific communications for the American Cancer Society national home office.
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