Questions and answers about changes to human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination

2018-01-18 16:57:56

Which HPV vaccine has been used?

A vaccine that protects against four types of HPV (4vHPV or Gardasil) has been given on a three-dose schedule given over at least 6 months under the National Immunisation Program since 2007. This vaccine protects against the two high-risk HPV types (types 16 and 18) which cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers in women and 90 per cent of all HPV-related cancers in men, and against two other low-risk HPV types (types 6 and 11) which cause 90 per cent of genital warts in men and women.

For more information on HPV vaccination coverage in NSW, visit NSW Health Stats


What is changing and why?

From 2018 onwards, the National Immunisation Program will adopt an HPV vaccine that covers nine types of HPV (9vHPV or Gardasil9). This vaccine protects against more high-risk HPV types that cause over 90% of cervical cancers in women and also protects against additional HPV types that cause cancers in men.

Further, international evidence demonstrates that for any HPV vaccine given to individuals aged under 15 years, two doses given at least 6 months apart is equivalent to the current three-dose schedule. Other comparable countries, such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and New Zealand, have already adopted two-dose HPV schedules.


Why is the dosing schedule changing?

The latest international studies1 demonstrate that a two-dose schedule of any HPV vaccine, given to individuals aged 9-14 years of age at least 6 months apart, gives equivalent protection to a three-dose course of vaccine given at 0, 2 and 6 months for most students (exceptions are listed below). Students who have had two doses of HPV vaccine at least 6 months apart are therefore fully vaccinated and do not need a third dose.


Which students still need three doses of HPV vaccine?

A small number of students are still recommended to have three doses of HPV vaccine (at 0, 2 and 6 months) to be protected:

those who received the first dose of any HPV vaccine when they were 15 years of age or olderthose with significant immunocompromise, regardless of age of commencing HPV vaccination, defined as those with primary or secondary immune-deficiencies (B lymphocyte antibody and T lymphocyte complete or partial deficiencies); HIV infection; malignancy; organ transplantation; or significant immunosuppressive therapy (excluding asplenia or hyposplenia).What about adolescents who first received 4vHPV vaccine in 2017?

In NSW the second dose of 4vHPV vaccine was deferred in 2017 to accommodate the emergency roll-out of the Meningococcal W Response Program to Year 11 and 12 students in response to a rapid increase in meningococcal W. This means that most Year 7 students will have received two doses of HPV vaccine in 2017 at least 6 months apart and are therefore considered to be fully vaccinated. Year 7 students needing an additional dose (i.e. where a second dose was not given due to student illness or absence) will be offered a second dose in 2018 at routine school clinics. The public health unit will write directly to parents in these circumstances to advise them of these arrangements.


Can an HPV schedule started with 4vHPV vaccine be completed with 9vHPV vaccine?

Yes. It is safe and effective to use 9vHPV in order to complete a vaccination schedule which was commenced with 4vHPV. Individuals who started with 4vHPV and completed with 9vHPV will be adequately protected against 4vHPV types.


If my child has already completed a course of 4vHPV, should they now have 9vHPV vaccine?

Giving additional doses of 9vHPV to those who have completed a course of 4vHPV would provide protection against the extra HPV types (31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) but those doses of 9vHPV are not funded under the National Immunisation Program and must be purchased privately.




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