In December, we wrote about the FDA approval of Gardasil 9, which prevents approximately 90 percent of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58. The vaccine also prevents against genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11.
Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 14-0 to include Gardasil 9 in HPV vaccine recommendation. The proposed age groups for the recommendation are the same as the current HPV vaccination: girls and women between 9 to 26 years of age, and boys and men 9 to 15 years of age.
Another proposed modification to the recommendation includes the interchangeability of the HPV vaccines: if a vaccine provider does not know which vaccine a female patient has received previously, does not have it available, or if they are in settings transitioning to the 9-valent vaccine, any HPV vaccine may be used to continue or complete the series for protection against HPV 16 and 18. Gardasil or Gardasil 9 may be used to continue or complete the series for male patients.
The ACIP also noted that Gardasil 9 vaccination for those who have already completed the HPV vaccine series will be considered and voted on at the next ACIP meeting in June of this year.
Dr. Jacques Cholat, MD, president of Merck Vaccines, said, The CDC has made increasing HPV vaccination rates a public health priority, and today s recommendation for Gardasil 9 is an important milestone in the shared effort to help further reduce the burden of HPV-related cancers and diseases.
ACSH s Dr. Ross adds, This new recommendation should also be accompanied by educational efforts targeted at doctors to 1: reinforce the importance of counseling their patients between the ages of 9 and 26 (and their parents) about the benefits of receiving the HPV vaccination; and 2: eliminate any confusion regarding the interchangeability of the vaccines available. HPV vaccination rates are unacceptably low, and the fact that we have this new vaccine that has just been included in the CDC s recommendation gives one even more of a reason to get vaccinated.