Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

Recommend the HPV Vaccine

The AAFP has worked collaboratively with other health organizations to develop a letter urging physicians to strongly recommend the HPV vaccine.

Recommend the HPV Vaccine

The AAFP has worked collaboratively with other health organizations to develop a letter urging physicians to strongly recommend the HPV vaccine.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, vaccination rates remain low. A collaborative letter developed and signed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Physicians (ACP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) urges physicians to strongly recommend the HPV vaccine.

What you say, and how you say it, matters

Data suggest that physicians are not giving strong recommendations for HPV vaccine when patients are 11or 12 years old. Yet, your recommendation is the single best predictor of vaccination.

Here's why you should recommend the HPV vaccine to parents of young patients.

  • The HPV vaccine is cancer prevention. Each year, an estimated 26,000 cancers are attributable to HPV; about 17,000 in women and 9,000 in men.
  • Vaccination rates remain low. In 2012, only 33% of teenage girls ages 13-17 had received three doses of the HPV vaccine. This is the first year in which HPV vaccination coverage rates did not increase from the prior year.
  • Evidence shows the HPV vaccine is safe. More than 7 years of post-licensure vaccine safety monitoring in the United States provide continued evidence of the safety of HPV4.
  • Your recommendation is the number one reason why someone will get the HPV vaccine. Research data show that patients who receive a recommendation from their physician are four to five times more likely to receive the HPV vaccine. 

About HPV-associated Disease

  • Approximately 79 million persons in the United States are infected with HPV, and
    approximately 14 million people in the United States will become newly infected with
    HPV each year.
  • Each year, an estimated 26,000 cancers are attributable to HPV; about 17,000 in women
    and 9,000 in men.
  • Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, and
    oropharyngeal cancers are the most common among men.

Prevention of HPV-associated Disease by Vaccination

  • Two vaccines (bivalent/HPV2 and quadrivalent/HPV4) are available to protect against
    HPV 16 and 18, the types that cause most cervical and other anogenital cancers, as well
    as some oropharyngeal cancers.
  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine
    vaccination of girls age 11 or 12 years with the 3-dose series of either HPV vaccine and
    routine vaccination of boys age 11 or 12 years with the 3-dose series of HPV4.
  • Vaccination is recommended for females through age 26 years and for males through
    age 21 years who were not vaccinated when they were younger.

Safety of HPV Vaccine

  • More than 175 million doses of HPV vaccine have been distributed worldwide and
    57 million doses have been distributed in the United States.
  • More than 7 years of post-licensure vaccine safety monitoring in the United States
    provide continued evidence of the safety of HPV4. Data on safety are also available from
    post-licensure monitoring in other countries for both vaccines and provide continued
    evidence of the safety of HPV2 and HPV4.
  • Syncope can occur among adolescents who receive any vaccines, including HPV vaccine.
    ACIP recommends that clinicians consider observing patients for 15 minutes after
    vaccination.

Efficacy of HPV Vaccines

  • Among women who have not been previously infected with a targeted HPV type, both
    vaccines have over 95% efficacy in preventing cervical precancers caused by HPV 16
    or 18.
  • HPV4 also demonstrated nearly 100% vaccine efficacy in preventing vulvar and vaginal
    precancers, and genital warts in women caused by the vaccine types.
  • In males, HPV4 demonstrated 90% vaccine efficacy in preventing genital warts and
    75% vaccine efficacy in preventing anal precancers in men caused by HPV 16 or 18.

Sources

  1. Health care provider recommendation, human papillomavirus vaccination, and race/ethnicity in the U.S. National Immunization Survey. Am. J. Public Health. 2013. 103(1):164-169.
  2. Factors associated with human papillomavirus vaccine-series initiation and healthcare provider recommendation in U.S. adolescent females: 2007 National Survey of Children's Health. Vaccine. 2012. 30(20):3112-3118.
  3. Human Papillomavirus-associated Cancers--United States, 2004-2008. MMWR. 2012. 61(15):258-261.
  4. Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescent Girls, 2007-2012, and Post-licensure Vaccine Safety Monitoring. 2006-2013--United States. MMWR. 2013. 62(29):591-595.