American Cancer Society releases latest guidelines regarding HPV vaccine effectiveness

The American Cancer Society has updated its guidelines when it comes to HPV vaccination recommendations in children vs. adults.

The ACS adapted a 2019 update from the Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices relating to effectiveness when it comes to on-time vaccination.

The new update addresses three key issues:
  • Vaccination may be routinely offered at age 9-12
  • The ACS endorses catch-up vaccination for all individuals through age 26, including a qualifying statement about reduced effectiveness of vaccination at older ages compared to teens and pre-teens
  • The ACS does not endorse the recommendation about vaccination for adults aged 27-45 years


The ACS reccomends children, regardless of gender, get two doses of the HPV vaccine between the ages of nine and 12.

It says routine vaccination between these ages is expected to achieve an increased number of cancers prevented.

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The CDC recommends keeping your child on an immunization schedule



The ACS says health care providers should start offering the vaccine at age nine or 10.

For their second point, the ACS says children and young adults up to the age of 26 who have not yet received the HPV vaccine should still get vaccinated.

It says although vaccination outside of the 9-to-12-year-old age range will not prevent as many cancers as vaccinations within it, it is still effective in lowering cancer risk.

Finally, The ACS does not recommend HPV vaccination for those older than the age of 26.

It clarifies that a low effectiveness of cancer prevention is expected from vaccination of individuals between the ages of 27 and 45.

"We're seeing evidence that starting vaccination at age nine or 10 has potential benefits that are expected to lead to higher vaccination rates, resulting in increased numbers of cancers prevented compared to starting at ages age 11 and 12," said Debbie Saslow, PhD, managing director, HPV & GYN Cancers. "It's for that reason we felt it was important to say that starting at age nine or 10 is more than OK; it's preferable to achieve the full cancer-preventing potential of this vaccine."

The ACS says there has been a global shortage of HPV vaccine that is expected to continue for the next several years.

"The combination of HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of cancers caused by HPV each year in this country and to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem in the coming decades," conclude the authors. "Vaccination of all children between ages 9 and 12 years will prevent >90% of the cervical, oropharyngeal, anal, vaginal, vulvar, and penile cancers that are caused by HPV and, combined with screening and the treatment of cervical precancers, can lead to the first elimination of a cancer in history."
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