Single Dose of HPV Vaccine May Be Enough to Guard Against Cervical Cancer

Researchers found women who only got 1 of 3 recommended Cervarix doses still showed immune response 4 years later

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"This would be absolutely amazing if we could only give one dose," she said.

However, Saslow noted a few concerns. For one thing, the study did not involve the HPV vaccine used 99 percent of the time in the United States -- Gardasil, which guards against four strains of the virus, she noted.

Also, researchers could only verify protection for four years after receiving the dose. "If we are vaccinating girls at age 12, we need to make sure that immunity lasts," Saslow said. "We don't know, and they don't know, if having three doses will last any longer than one dose."

Finally, she pointed out that a very small number of women were involved in the Costa Rican study, and recommended that these results be verified by tracking girls in the United States who are receiving the vaccine.

"We need to set up some sort of surveillance system for those who only got one or two doses," Saslow said. "If we're identifying those girls, let's see if we can follow them. We don't need to start a big randomized trial. We can look back using medical records."

More information

Visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute to learn more about cervical cancer.

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