according to a unanimous vote at a meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
This change affects males aged 22 through 26 years; the HPV vaccine is currently recommended for males and females aged 11 or 12 years, with catch-up vaccination through age 21 for males and age 26 for females.
The change was supported in part by increased interest in simplifying and harmonizing the vaccine schedule, said Lauri Markowitz, MD, of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), who presented the HPV work group’s considerations.
In addition, the committee voted 10-4 in favor of catch-up HPV vaccination, based on shared clinical decision making, for all adults aged 27 through 45 years.
Although the current program of HPV vaccination for youth has demonstrated effectiveness, data from multiple models suggest that widespread HPV vaccination for adults older than 26 years is much less cost effective, and would yield relatively small additional health benefits, Dr. Markowitz said.
The HPV work group reviewed data from a range of clinical trials, epidemiology, and natural history, as well as results from five different health economic models. They concluded that an assessment of benefits and harms favors expanding the catch-up vaccination to all individuals through 26 years, said Elissa Meites, MD, of the CDC, who presented the official work group opinion. The group’s opinion on the second question was that the additional population level benefit of expanding HPV vaccination to all adults would be minimal and not a reasonable and effective allocation of resources, but that shared clinical decision making would allow flexibility.
The committee expressed strong opinions about the potential for shared clinical decision making as a policy for vaccination for adults older than 26 years. Some felt that this option was a way to include adults at risk for HPV, such as divorced women with new partners, or women getting married for the first time later in life who might not have been exposed to HPV through other relationships. In addition, supporters noted that the shared clinical decision-making option would allow for potential insurance coverage, and would involve discussion between doctors and patients to assess risk.
However, other committee members felt that any recommendation for older adult vaccination would distract clinicians from the importance and value of HPV vaccination for the target age group of 11- and 12-year-olds, and might divert resources from the younger age group in whom it has shown the most benefit.
Resource allocation was a concern voiced by many committee members. Kelly Moore, MD, MPH, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., said she voted no on expanding vaccination to older adults because “we didn’t have details on shared clinical decision making, in the absence of information on what that meant, and in the presence of supply questions, I didn’t feel comfortable expanding vaccination to a huge population,” she said.
Paul Hunter, MD, of the City of Milwaukee Health Department, also voted no, and expressed concern that expanding the HPV vaccination recommendations to older adults would send the message that vaccination for children and teens is not effective or important.
The text of the new recommendations for routine and catch-up vaccination states that the recommendations “also apply to MSM [men who have sex with men], transgender people, and people with immunocompromising conditions.”
The ACIP members had no financial conflicts to disclose.