October 27, 2007
All Girls in England to Receive HPV Vaccine
The British government has decided that all girls in England aged 12 to 13 will receive the HPV vaccine starting in fall 2008.
In fall 2009, girls 16 to 18 will be vaccinated and in fall 2010 girls 15 to 17 will be vaccinated.
The shots will be given in schools but will not be mandatory.
The government says they will only choose one HPV vaccine, either Merck's Gardasil or GlaxoSmithKlin's Cervarix. The two companies will have to compete for the contract.
While many people applaud the mass vaccination plan, others are concerned about things like potential side effects and longterm effectiveness of the vaccine.
September 20, 2007
Merck Says Gardasil Works Better Than They Thought
A new study by Merck, the makers of Gardasil, has found that Gardasil protects against more strains of HPV than previously thought.
The vaccine was previously known to protect against four strains of the virus - 16, 18, 6, and 11. The new study shows that it may also protect against 10 other strains of the virus.
Despite the new findings that show increased protection, doctors point to an important limitation of the vaccine — it is only 39 percent effective against lesions caused by these other strains of HPV. The majority of that efficacy was seen in just two of the other 10 strains, notes Harper.
However, physicians are still optimistic about the new findings and hope additional coverage will eventually help reduce cervical cancer rates.
August 14, 2007
HPV Vaccines Don't Work Against Existing Infection
According to a new study, cervical cancer vaccines such as Gardasil do not fight existing HPV infections. The focus of the vaccines will continue to be on young girls who haven't yet been exposed to the virus.
The findings, reported in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, support a recommendation in June from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that vaccination focus on girls 11 and 12 years of age, most of whom would not have already become sexually active.