Washington, DC — Christopher M. Zahn, MD, Vice President of Practice Activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), issued the following statement regarding the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vote on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine recommendations:
"Today’s decision from ACIP emphasizes what the data has shown – that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective for use in patients ages 27 to 45, and that use of the vaccine in this age group should be the result of shared decision-making between patients and their trusted physicians.
“The HPV vaccine can be important prevention for individual patients and for the population at large. Obstetrician-gynecologists are encouraged to discuss with their patients ages 27 to 45 the potential benefits of HPV vaccination, addressing the reduced efficacy compared to vaccination within the younger target age range as well as the reduced risk of high-grade disease and cervical cancer. Women’s decisions will also likely consider their individual circumstances, preferences, and concerns, and the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist is to provide unbiased information in a balanced, thorough way in order to aid that decision-making.
“Although administration of the HPV vaccine is safe and effective in patients ages 27 to 45, the target age for vaccination – the age at which vaccination confers the greatest benefits to the patient – continues to be 11 to 12 years.
“The HPV vaccine can halt transmission of the virus and can prevent life-threatening cancers later in life. Today’s decision from ACIP should encourage physicians to discuss the vaccine routinely with their 27- to 45-year-old patients and should help more patients feel confident in their decisions to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org