By Dr. Sandeep Nayak
How many doses of the HPV vaccine are required by women for protection against cervical cancer?
New research suggests that even if a single dose of HPV vaccine could be delivered to every eligible girl child, the global burden of cervical cancer would substantially decrease. Using existing data, research has shown that a single dose of the bivalent or trivalent HPV vaccine may be sufficient to substantially reduce cervical cancer incidences. However, further studies will be needed to confirm these findings and move the field forward. Additionally, the duration of protection from a single dose must be demonstrated beyond four years.
The current dose recommended by companies manufacturing the vaccines is three. However, there is no ample evidence for this three-dose regime. Administration of three doses is costly and cumbersome. If we could prove one dose is sufficient, it would bring down the burden.
In some parts of the world, including Chile and British Columbia, two doses of HPV vaccine is now the recommended vaccination program. But for a single HPV dose, additional data is needed before policy guidelines can be changed.