Clinical Perspectives: New study suggests receiving only 1 dose of the HPV vaccine may be sufficient to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection
January 2, 2020 - A study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open on Friday, December 27th reports that infection with certain high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types was significantly less prevalent among women who received one, two, or three doses of the HPV vaccine, compared with unvaccinated women.
Disclaimer: This is general medical information and not specific medical advice. It does not and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by your healthcare provider. If you are seeking personal recommendations, advice, and/or treatment, please consult your physician. If you have an emergency, you should contact 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
- Currently 14 million Americans are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) every year. An estimated 80 million Americans are currently infected (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
- HPV is a group of more than 200 related viruses, which can spread through sexual contact, and in some cases cause six types of cancer: cervical, anal, penile, vaginal, vulvar, and oropharyngeal.
- The HPV vaccine is highly effective. It protects against HPV strains 16 and 18, the two strains that cause the majority of cancers.
- More than a decade after the introduction of the HPV vaccine in the United States, only 51.1% of adolescents have completed the vaccine series, while a greater number (68.1%) received at least 1 dose.
- In this study, close analysis of HPV vaccination rates and HPV infection among 1,620 women in the United States aged 18 to 26 between 2009 and 2016 showed that receiving a single dose of the vaccine could be as effective as receiving two or three doses to prevent cancer-causing HPV infection.
- If additional clinical trials provide evidence of the benefits of a one-dose regimen, the implications for reducing the burden of HPV-caused cancers could be significant.
- A single-dose regimen could overcome barriers like forgetting the need of additional doses, lack of insurance coverage or infrequent contact with the medical system.
- Currently, the CDC recommends 2 doses of the HPV vaccine for boys and girls ages 11 and 12, and 3 doses for children who start the vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday.