By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

The American Cancer Society (ACS) announced updated guidelines for the administration of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The new recommendations call on healthcare providers to give the vaccine to boys and girls starting at age 9 years.

“Research is starting to show that more parents agree to vaccination when it starts between ages 9 and 10. Younger children are also more likely to complete the series than those who start between ages 11 and 12,” Debbie Saslow, PhD, lead author of the 2020 ACS Guideline Update, said in a statement. “Starting vaccinations at a younger age gives more opportunities for a child to complete the series.”

Per the revisions, girls and boys should receive two vaccines doses between age 9 and 12 years. The revisions were the work of the ACS Guideline Development Group, which based its ideas on the 2019 update from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

In that update, ACIP called on teens and young adults up to age 26 years to catch up with three shots of the HPV vaccine if the first shot is administered after age 15 years. ACS does not recommend administering the HPV vaccine after age 26 years.

“HPV vaccination is most effective in early adolescence. Effectiveness decreases dramatically by age 18,” Saslow said. “ACS guidelines end recommendations for vaccination at age 26 because giving the vaccine to adults older than that isn’t likely to prevent many cancers.” (In its 2019 update, ACIP was divided on this subject.)

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