Giving HPV Vaccine at Young Age

Last Modified: January 14, 2010


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Why do the vaccines have to be given at such a young age?


Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

The Gardasil vaccine is a prevention vaccine. It is not a treatment vaccine. It is much more effective when given prior to any HPV exposure (as discussed above, HPV can be transmitted just by rubbing and touching which kids may engage in before intercourse). Also, the studies show that the vaccine is more effective in younger kids than in older adolescents. The immune systems in younger people have a more favorable response to the vaccine (the vaccine is more immunogenic the younger the child).

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series, How Much Do You Know About HPV? View the entire transcript here.

Related News

Cost, Efficacy of HPV Vaccine in Older Women Explored

Oct 5, 2015

Study finds HPV vaccination does not substantially reduce risk and is linked to high cost

Most ask and advise patients about smoking, but many go no further

Jun 24, 2010

Most ask and advise patients about smoking, but many go no further

Vaccine Cuts Risk of Subsequent HPV-Related Disease

Mar 29, 2012

HPV vaccination doesn't reduce risk of progression to disease; does reduce risk of subsequent disease