Preteens need only 2 HPV shots _ not 3, panel says

This image made available by Merck in October 2016 shows a vial and package for their GARDASIL 9 human papillomavirus vaccine. On Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, a government panel said preteens need only get two doses of HPV vaccine instead of three _ a move some hope will raise languishing HPV vaccination rates. Health officials say fewer than a third of 13-year-old U.S. boys and girls get all the necessary shots to protect them against human papillomaviruses (Merck via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A government panel says preteens only need two doses of the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer, instead of three — a move some hope will result in more kids getting the shots.

Fewer than one-third of 13-year-old U.S. boys and girls have gotten three doses of the vaccine. Experts say busy parents sometimes struggle to get their kids to the doctor three times within six months to get all the shots.

Recent studies have shown two doses of the leading HPV vaccine — Gardasil 9 — are enough, and can be spaced a year apart.

Human papillomavirus — or HPV — can cause cervical cancer, certain other cancers and genital warts. It is spread through sex.

The panel made the recommendation Wednesday at a meeting in Atlanta.

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