By Dr. Michael Sheehy, MD
Chief of Population Health and Analytics
Reliant Medical Group
America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for the HPV vaccine to be given to a wider age range of men and women to protect against cancers caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV). The vaccine Gardasil 9, which protects against nine different types of HPV, can now be used in men and women up to the age of 45. Previously, only people between the ages of 9 and 26 were recommended to receive this vaccine.
An HPV vaccination can be very important to long-term health as it is designed to protect against seven different types of life-threatening cancers caused by HPV. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that affects both males and females and causes cervical, anal and other types of cancer. According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90 percent of these cancers when given appropriately.
“It is best for people to receive the HPV vaccine before they reach the age of 12, but since this vaccine protects against nine types of HPV, even if you are older and have been exposed to one or more strains of HPV the vaccine still offers protection,” remarked Dr. Michael Sheehy, a primary care physician and Chief of Population Health and Analytics at Reliant Medical Group. “That’s why individuals who are 45 years old or younger and have not previously been vaccinated against HPV should discuss getting the vaccine with their doctor.”