The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new vaccine that protects against an additional five strains of the virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer.
The new version of the vaccine, called Gardasil 9, prevents infection with nine strains of the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV). Current Gardasil vaccines protect against either two or four of the viruses. It should be available in doctor’s offices in early 2015.
“This new vaccine has the potential to prevent about 90 percent of cervical cancers,” said Kevin Ault, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist at The University of Kansas Hospital. “The original Gardasil protected against strains blamed for 70 percent of U.S. cervical cancers,” he said.
The vaccine is approved for females ages 9 to 26 and males ages 9-15. Vaccination requires three shots over 6 months. The shots work best if given before someone is sexually active, so public health officials have emphasized giving the vaccine to 11 and 12 year olds.
In the video comments, Dr. Ault explains why this is such a big deal, the difference between the old and new vaccine, who should get it and what’s the real reason why you should get this vaccine.