The GoodRx Prescription Savings Blog

The latest updates on prescription drugs and ways to save from the GoodRx medical team

Gardasil HPV Vaccine Now Requires Fewer Doses

by Tori Marsh on October 21, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Good news in the world of vaccines! It is now easier for preteens to get Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine that protects against human papillomavirus (HPV).

This Wednesday, the federal government, along with the CDC, updated its recommendation for the HPV vaccine. Now, preteens only need two doses of the HPV vaccine, rather than three. Additionally, the CDC has said that the vaccine works better if spaced six to twelve months apart. This means that the vaccine can easily be given at annual check-ups, and reduces the number of doctor visits needed to get vaccinated.

First off, what is human papillomavirus?

HPV is a strain of viruses that can cause skin warts, cervical cancer, anal cancer, and cancers of the penis, throat, and tonsils. HPV can affect both men and women, and 79 million americans are currently infected.

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), meaning that you can be infected by having sex with someone who has the virus. It often has no signs or symptoms, and it can be difficult to know if you have HPV.

More information on the human papillomavirus can be found here.

Who should get vaccinated?

Boys and girls ages 11-12 should get vaccinated. However, men up to age 21 and women up to age 26 can still receive the vaccine.

What is the vaccine?

Currently, there are three vaccines, approved by the FDA, to prevent HPV—Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cevarix. These vaccines produce antibodies that protect you from getting HPV. The majority of people receive Gardasil 9, as it prevents against more virus strains than the other two.

The good news is, the vaccine is even more effective than doctors previously believed. According to a recent study, cervical cancer, and pre-cancers have been reduced by 50% in the past 8 years.

What does this update mean?

It is very rare for vaccine regimens to be updated, and simplified, so this is exciting news.

In the past, when three doses were recommended, fewer boys and girls received the full vaccine regimen—so simplifying the dosage will hopefully increase the amount of people receiving the vaccine. Also, fewer doses means more money saved!

-Tori Marsh

Tori Marsh is GoodRx’s junior medical editor and consumer savings expert.

Copyright ©2015 GoodRx, Inc.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. GoodRx is not offering advice, recommending or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information on the site. GoodRx provides no warranty for any of the pricing data or other information. Please seek medical advice before starting, changing or terminating any medical treatment. Third party logos, trademarks, brand names and images contained on are for demonstration purposes only and are owned by their respective rights holders, who are not affiliated with this Site.