Health Team

Study checks necessity of 3-shot HPV vaccine

Posted April 30, 2013

The human papillomavirus or HPV vaccine is a three-dose course of shots recommended for teenagers before they become sexually active. The vaccine can protect against cervical cancers in women and against genital warts and other cancers in people of both sexes.

New research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, questions whether two shots can provide the same level of protection as the standard three-shot vaccine. 

The current standard calls for two shots to be given about a month apart, followed by a third shot about six months later.

Keyana Bjornson, 17, participated in the JAMA study. 

"My parents had explained that it will help prevent cancer for when I'm older," she said. "I thought it would also help benefit other girls later on so I thought it was a good choice."

HPV vaccine HPV vaccine: Two shots or three?

Researchers found that girls who got two shots showed the same results as those who got three.

"Two doses in girls is certainly enough to start with, but it doesn't answer the question whether that's going to be enough to get women through the peak young adult years when they are most likely to meet HPV," said Dr. Simon R.M. Dobson, of the University of British Columbia.

Further studies are necessary to determine if a booster third dose is needed. Researchers say until more research is done, there is not enough information to be able to recommend a change to the standard dose schedule.

The HPV vaccine is expensive, so eliminating a third dose may encourage more use of it around the world.


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  • blkmamba May 8, 2013

    Kilroy- those parents think it’s all about sex and condoning it. I had it and it cleared up on its own, the high risk one that has the cancer association. I went ahead and got the vaccine right before I was too old and will do have my son and daughter vaccinated against it. If I we can do something to prevent cancer, whatever way you get it, I say we as a society should.
    F.Y.I. it can spread even with use of a condom, so there is no way around it if you are engaged in sexual activity...

  • Kilroy May 2, 2013

    "Men can also get cancer from HPV, too. Vaccinate the boys, too."

    So true, I did. I went through 6 weeks of chemo and radiation 2 years ago for HPV caused cancer. Only wish the vaccine was available when I was a kid. Do not understand why parents would not want to vaccinate their kids. I guess it is the "it will not happen to me" attitude and ignorance.

  • tamcapwral May 1, 2013


    Let's see some real statistics in peer-reviewed publications, instead of emotional scare-mongering.

    If I get a flu vaccine today, and get struck by a lightning tomorrow - it's not a reason to stop flu vaccinations!

  • swoodley May 1, 2013

    "Using data from the CDC, the vaccine watch organization Sanevax determined that, since Gardasil’s launch in 2006 until November 2012, the HPV vaccine was linked to 121 deaths and over 27,485 medical injuries of young girls, some as young as 11 years old."  Read more:

  • swoodley May 1, 2013

    WRAL news report (dated Feb 19, 2009) about a Canton, NC girl who suffered after receiving Gardisil (HPV) vaccine:

  • carrboroyouth May 1, 2013

    Men can also get cancer from HPV, too. Vaccinate the boys, too.

  • LuvLivingInCary May 1, 2013

    anyone that is nieve and thinks their child will not have premarital sex is greening themselves. HPV is very common and the numbers do not reflect the fact that the body usually kills it after two years.

    then you look at the cancers that it causes in women and you ask yourself why three sticks in the arm is a small price to pay to not have cancer...and men have a responsibility in women's health also.

  • carrboroyouth May 1, 2013

    Those shots are the most painful I've had, and I really don't mind shots, even ones like tetanus.

    The HPV shot feels like your arm burning, first at the injected spot, then it spreads up and down your arm. Glad to be down with those three boosters.