[HPV] 9-valent vaccine), which protects against 9 HPV strains, is most effective when administered before sexual activity begins; it is a recommended vaccine for 9 through 26 year olds. The FDA recently approved expanding the age range to women and men 27 – 45 years old. Why? The vaccine will not work against strains a person has been exposed to, and many adults have been exposed to some strains of HPV. The rationale is that most people have not been exposed to all 9 strains covered by the vaccine. Depending on the strain, HPV can cause cervical, anal, vaginal, penile and throat cancers.
The new indication is based on data from 3,200 women 27 – 45 years old who were followed for 3.5 years after vaccination with Gardasil ®. Gardasil®, which is no longer available, contains only 4 of the HPV strains in Gardasil 9. Yet it was 88% effective in preventing persistent HPV infection, genital warts, and various precancerous and cancerous lesions related to the HPV strains in the vaccine. Effectiveness for men was inferred from the data for women, a small immunogenicity trial in men, and the experience of younger males.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to review the expanded age range. If it recommends HPV vaccine for the older group, insurance companies will likely cover the cost.