Protection Against Some Cervical Cancers – Gardasil Vaccine for HPV
In June 2006, the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) approved the vaccine Gardasil which is the first vaccine against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is a known cause of cervical cancer, which is why this vaccine has received so much attention since its release. There are over 100 different strains of HPV. It is important to remember that Gardasil only protects against 4 of these strains, including strains 6, 11, 16, and 18. Two of these strains, 16 and 18, cause approximately 70% of the cases of cervical cancer in the United States. The other two strains cause approximately 90% of the cases of genital warts.
Gardasil is approved for girls/women age 9-26 years old. Since the FDA’s approval of Gardasil, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all girls age 11-12 begin receiving the vaccine. Because Gardasil is relatively new, there continues to be close monitoring of the safety of this vaccine. You can learn more about the vaccine’s safety reporting on the CDC’s website. Remember that Gardasil does not protect against all types of cervical cancer, so routine cervical cancer screening and gynecologic care remains necessary to optimize your health prevention screening. To learn more about Gardisil, you can visit their website at www.gardasil.com.