Panel Recommends Gardasil As Routine Adolescent Vaccine
National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine vaccination of girls against HPV
THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that 11- and 12-year-old girls routinely receive Gardasil, the newly approved human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, to protect against cervical cancer. The vaccine can be administered to girls as young as age 9, at the provider's discretion, and for women up to age 26 who have not previously received an HPV vaccine.
"The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made a historic vote today to recommend routine use of HPV vaccine for girls aged 11 to 12," Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a Thursday news conference. "It's a very important day -- a breakthrough for women's health."
Some religious conservatives and other critics have expressed concern that giving the vaccine to children could encourage underage sex. But, according to Schuchat, no controversy arose at the panel's recent public meetings.
The advisory committee also recommended that the vaccine be included in the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free vaccines for children up to age 18 who are eligible for Medicaid, are uninsured or are Native American or Alaskan Native.
The recommendations will be passed along to the head of the CDC and to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for review, and are expected to be accepted.
Gardasil is manufactured by Merck & Co.