Can I Still Get HPV Vaccine if I’m Older?


>>Hi, my name is Paul Offit. I am talking to you today from the Vaccine
Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And what I wanted to talk about was human
papilloma virus, or HPV, the disease and the vaccine. So every year in the United States, about
30,000 people will develop cancer caused by HPV. Those cancers involve the head, neck, anal
and genital region, and every year, 5,000 people die of HPV. The good news is there’s a vaccine to prevent
it. That vaccine was first licensed in 2006, and
initially, it was given to children between 11 and 13 years of age. More recently, that vaccine has been extended
to include people between 27 and 45 years of age. So the question is: “Should older people
also get this HPV vaccine?” And the current vaccine contains nine different
serotypes of HPV that cause disease; it will protect against about 90% of the cancers that
are out there. Should older people get this vaccine?>>Now, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, or the CDC, has basically said that this decision should be a shared decision
process with the clinician. In other words, they didn’t give it a full-throated
recommendation, and there is a few reasons for this. I think one reason is that the best group
to vaccinate are adolescents, meaning children around 11 to 13 years of age, because that’s
before they have had sex and, therefore, it’s most likely to prevent then all the strains
that are contained in that vaccine, whereas people who are older are more likely to have
already been infected with one or more strains of HPV, so the impact, therefore, of the vaccine
is less. Second, I think we have had trouble at some
level of getting that vaccine into adolescents. Right now only about 55% of girls and 45%
of boys get that vaccine, so we can do much better. It’s interesting that if you look at the
adolescent group, about 80 to 90% will get the Tdap vaccine, tetanus, diphtheria, acellular
pertussis, about 80 to 90% will get the meningococcus vaccine, whereas only about 50% get the HPV
vaccine, and certainly HPV causes more suffering and more hospitalization and more death than
all those other vaccines combined, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense.>>The other thing is that of the countries
in the world, about half those countries have HPV vaccine programs, and there is a limited
supply. So I think the CDC is cognizant of that, and
although there’s certainly plenty of vaccine to vaccinate America’s children, there isn’t
a lot of vaccine to go around, so I think the CDC is sensitive to that. That’s why they didn’t give it a complete
recommendation, but rather said it should be a shared decision-making process between
the patient and the doctor. Thank you for your attention

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