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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Group Backs HPV Shot Recommendation for Boys
Frederik Joelving
February 27, 2012
Reuters Health (02.27.12) - Monday, February 27, 2012

Boys ages 11-12 should be immunized routinely against human papillomavirus with Merck & Co.'s Gardasil vaccine, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced Monday. Other males up to age 21 should be vaccinated if they have not been already or have not completed the full three-shot series, AAP said in its updated HPV vaccine recommendations. The new AAP policy is in agreement with CDC's recommendation of routine HPV vaccination for boys and girls ages 11-12.

"What we are hoping will come out of this is that we can push this as a cancer vaccine," said Dr. Michael Brady, chair of AAP's committee on infectious diseases.

Gardasil can shield males against genital warts and anal cancer, although protection is not complete. Vaccinating boys is also likely to indirectly protect women through herd immunity, AAP said. A 2010 survey found just a third of US females ages 13-17 had received all three vaccine rounds - not enough to help prevent HPV's spread, Brady said.

US regulators have found no serious side effects associated with Gardasil, which costs about $360 for all three doses. However, soreness at the injection site is common.

"This definitely is a very safe vaccine," said Brady. "Now that it is a routine recommendation we anticipate that coverage will be much better and that the cost barriers will disappear." The policy statement, "HPV Vaccine Recommendations," was published in Pediatrics (2012;doi:10.1542/peds.2011-3865).