CDC Panel Votes to Extend HPV Vaccine to Young Boys
All males starting at age 11 should receive the HPV vaccine Gardasil to protect themselves against sexually transmitted forms of human papillomavirus, the cause of most cervical and anal cancers as well as most mouth and throat cancers, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee voted today.
Thirteen members of the committee voted in favor of extending the HPV vaccine recommendation to young boys, and one member abstained. The recommendation now goes to the director of the CDC and the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for final approval.
The CDC already recommends routinely immunizing girls with a three-dose vaccine beginning at age 11 or 12, before they become sexually active, although they can be vaccinated as young as age 9. The agency previously issued a so-called permissive recommendation giving boys and young men from ages 9 through 26 the option of receiving the vaccine.
The prospect of requiring that preteen boys and girls get vaccinated against a sexually transmitted infection has drawn the sharpest outcry from some parents, who fear that vaccinating preteens might encourage promiscuous behavior. Vaccination policies also have become an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign, with several GOP candidates objecting to mandates for HPV vaccination.
Many infectious disease specialists welcome universal vaccination as a key tool in reducing the toll of preventable diseases.