Following a review of the latest evidence, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has today published a statement advising a move from 2 doses to 1 for the routine adolescent HPV vaccination programme.
The JCVI regularly reviews all vaccination programmes and considers new evidence as it emerges. The Committee has been considering the potential decision for several years and now considers that there is strong evidence in favour of moving to 1 dose. This view aligns with recent advice from the World Health Organization’s SAGE committee.
The JCVI consulted on the proposed changes earlier this year to ensure no evidence was missed and stakeholders’ views were taken into consideration. The Secretary of State for Health will consider the advice and ultimately decide whether to make any changes to the vaccination programme in due course.
The HPV programme in the UK targets girls and boys aged 12 to 13 and is currently given as a 2-dose course. Under the new advice, all young people will be eligible for 1 dose as part of the routine adolescent programme.
The aim of the programme is to offer protection against cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer, cancers of the head and neck and cancers of the anus and genital areas. In England, recently published evidence has shown that the HPV vaccine programme has reduced the incidence of cervical cancer in young women offered the vaccine at age 12 to 13 years by 87% – and will eventually go on to save thousands of lives.
Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA said:
We know that the HPV vaccine offers excellent protection against cervical cancer and should also prevent a range of other cancers in women and men. The advice from the JCVI is based on compelling evidence that shows 1 dose of the HPV vaccine is just as effective as 2 doses and this aligns with recent advice from the World Health Organization.
The advice has now been published and we will make sure that we work with the NHS and health partners to support the roll out of any changes to the programme.
We urge everyone who is eligible to take up this potentially life-saving vaccine when it is offered. Those who have missed out can catch up until their 25th birthday.
In addition to the routine adolescent programme, there is also a separate HPV vaccination programme for gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) aged up to 45 years, which is delivered through sexual health clinics. The advice from JCVI on the move to 1 dose applies to everyone aged under 25, including GBMSM. Any GBMSM aged 25 or over will continue to be offered 2 doses. Individuals living with HIV will be offered 3 doses, irrespective of their age.