CDC panel OKs use of Cervarix HPV vaccine in girls, Gardasil in boys

LA Times
Booster Shots

October 21, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted today to recommend the use of the Cervarix human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in girls age 11 and 12. Cervarix was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 16 and acceptance by the ACIP is the next step toward widespread use of the vaccine. The panel had initially recommended that the guidelines say that Gardasil, previously approved by the FDA, and Cervarix were interchangeable. But the final approval noted that Cervarix protects against only two strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer, while Gardasil protects against those two strains plus two other strains that cause genital warts.

The panel also voted that Gardasil “may be given to males aged 9 through 26 years to reduce their likelihood of acquiring genital warts.” That statement stopped short of recommending it for boys and men and some experts think that, as a result, insurance companies will not pay for the vaccine for males.

The panel also recommended that Cervarix for girls and Gardasil for boys be included in the government’s Vaccines for Children program, which provides immunizations free for uninsured and underinsured children.

Both vaccines are administered in three doses: an initial shot, another shot one to two months later, and a third six months later. Both cost just under $400 for the three-shot regimen. The vaccines have been controversial because of claims that they have produced serious side effects in some girls who have received them.

The CDC generally adopts recommendations made by ACIP. Gardasil is made by Merck & Co., Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline.

— Thomas H. Maugh II

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.