The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been recommended as part of the routine vaccination schedule for girls aged 11-12 since 2006 for the prevention of cervical cancer. In 2009, the FDA licensed the vaccine for use in males aged 9-26 years for the prevention of genital warts caused by two types of HPV, but the vaccine was not yet recommended for boys as part of the routine immunization schedule.
Meeting today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend routine immunization against HPV for boys at age 11-12. ACIP members, experts selected by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, develop the recommendations that are used in the U.S. Recommended Childhood, Adolescent and Adult Immunization Schedules.
The committee voted to recommend routine HPV vaccine for boys with a unanimous 13 yes votes and one abstention.
The vote was made after the committee examined post-licensure safety data on the vaccine, as well as data about the incidence of anal, penile and oropharyngeal cancer in men – all of which can also be caused by HPV. The committee also noted that immunization of males will help to decrease overall transmission of HPV, providing additional protection for females.
The HPV vaccine is given in a three-dose series. The vaccine is also recommended for anyone aged 13-26 who was not immunized at the recommended 11-12 year time period.
For more about HPV, see our article on Vaccines for Sexually Transmitted Diseases.