Study shows HPV vax impact

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Recent human papillomavirus vaccination studies have focused on shortfalls, both in terms of vaccination rates and misperceptions that the vaccine may influence adolescent sexual activity.

A Queensland, Australia, study published in BMJ picks up a different thread: the documented impact of HPV vaccinations. Spoiler: vaccinations reduced the risk of high-grade cervical abnormalities among women who received all three doses of the quadrivalent version of the HPV vaccine by 46%, and cut the risk of other abnormalities by 35%.

Australia's publicly funded national vaccination program kicked off in April 2007, and included vaccinating girls 12 years to 13 years of age through a school program as well as a “catch-up” program for 12- to 17-year-olds and 18-to-26-year-old women. School-based vaccinations among 12- to 17-year-olds scored a 70% rate of women receiving three full doses, 79% two doses, and 84% one dose. (The Centers for Disease Control is hoping for an 80% vaccination rate among US girls.)

Recent US guidelines recommend vaccinating girls and boys. Because the virus—which can cause cancer—is sexually transmitted, the goal is to vaccinate girls and boys before they become sexually active.

The Australian research team's findings confirmed the benefit of early vaccination and found that the vaccine was more effective among younger women than older women, but that the vaccine conferred some benefit to older women.

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