Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have adopted new vaccination schedules for children and adolescents. Mostly, the changes were minor (read about it here), but it did include an endorsement for the more powerful anti-cancer HPV vaccine – known as Gardasil-9.
The new, more powerful, version of the HPV vaccine, cleared, last year, by the US Food and Drug Administration, protects teens and young adults from 9 subtypes of HPV, helping prevent more cancers. The new vaccine, called Gardasil-9, prevents even more types of cancer.
This newest version of the HPV cancer-preventing vaccine safely and effectively prevents several forms of cancer in young adults by protecting the those who receive the vaccine from nine different types of the HPV virus.
In a clinical study about this more powerful HPV vaccine, published in Pediatrics, 3066 girls and boys, aged 9 through 15, were given a three-dose series of the new Gardasil-9 vaccine–day 1, month 1, and month 6. The researchers observed no serious adverse events and high immunogenicity (antibodies to all 9 HPV types).
CDC and the new anti-cancer HPV vaccine
Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the USA. There are more than 40 HPV sub-types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. Additionally, some HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. HPV is generally transmitted from personal contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex.
HPV is linked to cancers in men and women, and because there are so many subtypes, research has established which HPV types are linked to certain cancers.
Early last year, the CDC recommended the new 9-valent anti-cancer HPV vaccine for children as young as 9 years old. This new more powerful vaccine, protects against up to 9 different subtypes of the human papillomavirus – all of which are linked to various cancers.
The new recommendations, as detailed in a recent Pediatrics article, recommends that 9- and 10-year-olds receive the HPV vaccine if they have a history of sexual abuse. Studies estimate that one in four girls and one in 20 boys will experience sexual abuse before age 18 – protecting them against a cancer causing sexually transmitted disease is an important public health strategy.
I find it difficult to discuss a health care measure, like vaccinating against HPV, as a result of sexual abuse of children. But it is an important tool to protect them from deadly diseases as adults – it’s good that the CDC is looking out for the country’s children in every way possible.
- AAP COMMITTEE ON INFECTIOUS DISEASES. Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule—United States, 2016. Pediatrics. 2016;137(3): e20154531
- Finkelhor D, Shattuck A, Turner HA, Hamby SL. The lifetime prevalence of child sexual abuse and sexual assault assessed in late adolescence. J Adolesc Health. 2014 Sep;55(3):329-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.026. Epub 2014 Feb 25. PubMed PMID: 24582321.
- Petrosky E, Bocchini JA Jr, Hariri S, Chesson H, Curtis CR, Saraiya M, Unger ER, Markowitz LE; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of 9-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: updated HPV vaccination recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Mar 27;64(11):300-4. PubMed PMID: 25811679.
- Van Damme P, Olsson SE, Block S, Castellsague X, Gra GE, Herrera T, Huang L-M, Kim DS, Pitisuttithum P, Chen J, Christiano, S, Maansson R, Moeller E, Sun X, Vuocolo S, Luxembourg A. Immunogenicity and Safety of a 9-Valent HPV Vaccine. Pediatrics, 22 Jun, 2015.