Two Doses of HPV Vaccine Okay

Cervarix HPV vaccine complete after two shots instead of three

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) There's been a lot of confusion around human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination lately. The latest news actually simplifies the recommendations.

The National Cancer Institute now says that three rounds of the HPV vaccine Cervarix are no longer necessary. Instead, two shots are adequate to protect young women from cervical cancer caused by the virus.

"Cervarix protects against cervical cancer after only two doses."

The new recommendations come after the results of a four-year, community based clinical trial conducted in Costa Rica.

The Costa Rica Vaccine Trial examined the effectiveness of Cervarix in 7,466 women aged 18-25 who received either the vaccine or a Hepatitis A vaccine, which was used as a control.

During the four-year follow-up, researchers found that two doses offered the same protection against HPV 16 and 18 as three doses. A single dose offered some protection, but is not considered adequate because vaccines of this nature require boosters.

The majority of deaths from cervical cancer occur in poorer countries. The disease is caused by caused by infection with HPV.

Lead researcher, Aimée R. Kreimer, Ph.D, investigator in NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, says these findings may not translate to all populations, including those women with HIV, those who are malnourished or have other diseases.

Cervarix is one of two vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The other vaccine, Gardasil, is still administered in three doses over a six month period.

The vaccination program is recommended for girls, starting at the age of 11 or 12.

This study was published online Sept.9, 2011, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 9, 2011
Last Updated:
September 12, 2011