FDA: Adults under 45 now eligible for HPV vaccine

To protect more people from cancer caused by the human papillomavirus, the FDA expanded the use of the HPV vaccine Gardasil 9 to adults up to age 45, according to The Washington Post.

Previously, the HPV vaccine was only approved for people ages 9 to 26.  The vaccine was typically given in two doses several months apart for people ages 9 to 14 and in three doses for people ages 15 to 26. The recommended dose for those over 26 will be three doses.

HPV is commonly found in sexually active individuals. Typically, the virus is cleared through the body's immune system. However, if that doesn't occur, it can cause cervical, vaginal, penile and throat cancers.

The vaccine, which protects against nine strains of HPV, is most effective when administered before any sexual activity. But new data show the vaccine can also benefit older adults because they are not often exposed to all nine strains covered by the vaccine.

Merck, Gardasil's manufacturer, requested the expanded age range this year.

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