By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - July 09, 2020
With back to school time just a month away, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has released its recommendations on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and its effectiveness. The vaccine targets the HPV types that most commonly cause cervical cancer and can cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus and oropharynx. It also protects against the HPV types that cause most genital warts.
- HPV vaccination between ages 9 and 12 to achieve higher on-time vaccination rates, which will lead to increased numbers of cancers prevented.
- Catch-up HPV vaccination is recommended for everyone through age 26 who is not adequately vaccinated. Providers should inform individuals ages 22 to 26 who have not been vaccinated or who have not completed the series that vaccination at older ages is less effective in lowering cancer risk.
- Catch-up HPV vaccination is not recommended for adults older than 26.
- The ACS does not endorse the 2019 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendation for shared clinical decision-making for some adults ages 27 through 45 who are not adequately vaccinated because of the low effectiveness and low cancer prevention potential of vaccination in this age group.
Dr. Anna Giuliano, world-renowned HPV expert and founding director of the Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center, says not endorsing vaccination for those older than 26 is contrary to national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“For midadult men there is no way to prevent oropharyngeal cancer caused by HPV other than to vaccinate,” said Giuliano. The median age of oropharyngeal cancer diagnosis is 60. Giuliano says it is likely that vaccination for those 27 to 45 may have a very positive impact on the rising incidence of oropharyngeal cancer in men, which impacts more than 12,000 in the U.S. each year.
“HPV vaccine effectiveness data to date supports this concept, as every study that has examined population level effectiveness of the vaccine to prevent oral HPV infection, a precursor to oropharyngeal cancer, has found profound reductions among vaccinated populations,” said Giuliano.