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Encouraging Data May Suggest One-Dose HPV Vaccine for Adolescents

June 19, 2023

While we are getting better at promoting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by talking about its cancer-prevention potential, it is difficult to get 2 or 3 vaccines into adolescents, who come to well visits much less frequently than infants and toddlers.

Thus, I was excited to see an article entitled “HPV 16/18 Antibody Responses After a Single Dose of Nonavalent HPV Vaccine,” being early released this week in Pediatrics (10.1542/peds.2022-060301).

This article by Dr. Yi Zeng and colleagues from the University of Arizona, University of California-Los Angeles, and the National Cancer Institute enrolled 9 –11-year-olds to receive the nonavalent HPV vaccine at intervals of 0, 24, and 30 months. Blood samples for antibodies to HPV-16 and HPV-18 (the two most carcinogenic straings) were obtained at baseline and every 6 months up to 30 months after the first vaccine dose.

The authors found that antibody responses rose after the initial dose and remained stable through 24 months, and then the 24 month vaccine provided a booster response.

This is encouraging news! First, adolescents may not need multiple doses of HPV vaccine. Second, studies have demonstrated that there is much less parental resistance when the HPV vaccine is offered at 9 years of age, before puberty

We will have to wait for more studies, but this is encouraging preliminary data about the possible efficacy of the HPV vaccine even if the additional currently recommended doses are missed.

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