Merck’s HPV Vaccine May Protect Girls With Fewer Doses
A new study finds that two doses of Merck’s human papillomavirus vaccine may be just as effective in younger girls as the recommended three doses given to older teens and women.
Girls ages 9 to 13 years who received two doses of Gardasil to help protect them against HPV – the virus that causes cervical cancer – had antibody levels that were not worse than females ages 16 to 26 years who received three doses, according to the research in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study is the first to look at the effects of reducing the doses of Gardasil to see if the vaccine is still effective.
Jessica Kahn, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s, wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal, saying that reducing the number of shots from three to two may help make it easier for kids to get the correct number of doses. Many girls and boys don’t return to get all three shots. Two doses of the vaccine may also make it more affordable, particularly for developing countries, she said.
“It’s an important study and it shows encouraging evidence – it’s preliminary evidence – that a two-dose vaccine series possibly could be effective in the future,” said Dr. Kahn, “It’s a little too early to change clinical practice based on these findings. It’s one piece of the puzzle.”