Late last year, the CDC released new guidelines on vaccinating children against the human papillomavirus (HPV)—the new recommendations suggest fewer shots and spacing them apart. Now, a conglomerate of 69 National Cancer Institute–designated cancer centers has come together to endorse
the CDC’s recommendations.
According to the new recommendations
, 11- to 12-year-olds should be administered 2 doses of the 9-valent vaccine, which should be spaced 6 months apart. However, adolescents and young adults, 15 years and older, should be administered 3 doses.
“This collaborative effort is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of these new recommendations and the importance of HPV vaccination, knowing that most people will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lives," Lois Ramondetta, MD, professor of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a statement
. "We hope that requiring 2 shots instead of 3 will make it easier for children to be vaccinated, bringing rates closer to the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80%.”
Incidence of HPV-associated cancers continues to rise, and has now touched 39,000 annually. This includes cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers, all of which can be prevented with an HPV vaccine. According to the CDC, about 42% of girls and 28% of boys received the recommended series of vaccinations in 2015.
In support of CDC’s efforts, the cancer centers encourage the following:
Parents and guardians complete a 2-dose, 9-valent HPV vaccine series before age 13 for their sons and daughters, or a catch-up vaccine series in older children (more than 15 years of age)
Young men and women up to age 26 who were not vaccinated as teens or preteens complete the 3-dose vaccine series
Healthcare providers advocate for cancer prevention by making recommendations for childhood vaccination
“In the spirit of the White House Cancer Moonshot, we must continue to work collaboratively to take advantage of effective cancer prevention strategies that can save thousands of lives in the future,” said Ernest Hawk, MD, vice president and division head, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Ramondetta urged greater participation by pediatricians in this effort. “As oncologists who routinely witness the devastating effects of these diseases, we urge all pediatricians to recommend HPV vaccinations and prevent their patients from becoming our patients,” she said.