We all like when an immunization shot schedule gets easier! The HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine has been used since 2006 in this country. The current vaccine is "Gardisil 9" and offers excellent protection against HPV strains that can lead to cancer and other issues. Recent studies have looked at whether giving two doses of the HPV vaccine at the preteen age would provide very good protection versus given three doses. The study showed that the two dose schedule gave very good protection. The second dose was given 6-12 months after the first dose. In fact, the protection was so good for 9-14 year old receiving two doses, their protection was better than the 15-26 year olds receiving three doses!
So you will likely find that we will recommending a different schedule for the 9-14 year olds receiving the vaccine. Discuss it with your doctor. When we routinely offer the vaccine in the pre-teen years, getting the first dose at one visit and another in 6-12 months should give your child excellent protection against HPV. This will allow us to give the vaccine in two consecutive check-ups, simplifying the schedule and reducing trips back to the office in between well visits.
If you have felt hesitant about this vaccine, please know we feel it is very safe and very effective. My own three children have received the vaccine. Other than some arm soreness, they have had no side effects. And my wife and I can rest easier knowing that they and their spouse/partner are better protected from cancer and other issues.
We hope this new schedule for those that start the vaccine before they turn 15 years of age will encourage everyone to start the vaccine at a younger age (11-13 year olds) when the protection they will receive from the vaccine will be at it's best. Please discuss with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.
Here is a link to an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with more information.