One dose of the Cervarix vaccine can protect against HPV 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancers, two studies in Lancet Oncology found.
Cervarix was used in the UK HPV vaccination campaign from its launch in 2008, but was dropped in favour of Gardasil in 2012. Gardasil was chosen because it also protects against HPV types 6 and 11, which are responsible for 90% of genital warts cases.
Last year, the three-dose HPV vaccination schedule was replaced by two doses, because of evidence the reduced number of doses was just as effective.
‘Our findings question the number of HPV vaccine doses truly needed to protect the majority of women against cervical cancer, and suggest that a one-dose schedule should be further evaluated,’ said author Dr Aimee Kreimer from the US National Institutes of Health.
‘If one dose is sufficient, it could reduce vaccination and administration costs as well as improve uptake.’
Researchers analysed data from almost 7,500 women, some of whom had missed doses. Women receiving one, two, or three doses of the bivalent vaccine were protected against HPV infection for at least four years, the research found.
One of the studies was funded by GSK, which manufactures Cervarix.