- Advisory number:
- Date issued:
- 05 Feb 2023
- Issued by:
- Adjunct Clinical Professor Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer
- Issued to:
- Immunisation providers and the Victorian public
- From 6 February 2023, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine dosing schedule on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) will change from two doses of HPV vaccine Gardasil®9 to a single dose for immunocompetent people.
- The schedule will not change for immunocompromised people (people with a weakened immune system), and they may still need three doses of HPV vaccine.
- Immunocompetent people who have received a single dose of HPV vaccine are now considered fully vaccinated and don’t need a second dose of HPV vaccine.
- The age of eligibility for free catch-up vaccination will also increase from 19 to 25 years of age.
What is the issue?
The Australian Department of Health and Aged has announced that from 6 February 2023 the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine dosing schedule on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) will change from two doses to a single dose for most people. The age of eligibility for free catch-up vaccination will also increase from 19 to 25 years of age.
This change was made based on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisatrion (ATAGI), who have reviewed a large volume of international clinical evidence that shows a single dose provides comparable protection as two doses for immunocompetent people. The Australian Immunisation Handbook will be updated to reflect this .
The schedule change will make it easier and faster to vaccinate young people for HPV, protecting them from a potentially cancer-causing virus.
Who is at risk?
HPV can affect anyone who is or has been sexually active, even if they have only experienced sexual contact once. It is very common to be infected with one or more types of HPV shortly after sexual activity starts. Nine out of 10 people have HPV at some time in their lives.
The ideal age for HPV vaccination is 12 – 13 years (before sexual debut), and in Victoria most young people are vaccinated in Year 7 through the Secondary School Immunisation Program. This program is administered by local councils.
Symptoms and transmission
HPV is a very common virus that is spread through sexual contact. Many people with HPV do not experience symptoms, and the virus can sometimes spontaneously clear from the body. Although symptoms of HPV can be vague, people should consult their doctor or sexual health clinic if they develop unusual vaginal or anal bleeding, experience pain during sex or have any lumps, pain or itching in the genital area.
Immunocompetent people who have received a single dose of HPV vaccine are now considered fully vaccinated, and do not need a second dose of HPV vaccine. The Australian Immunisation Register will be updated to reflect this change by the end of February 2023.
Immunisation providers must inform parents/carers who consented to the two-dose schedule in 2022 for their child to be vaccinated in the 2023 school year of the schedule change before their child’s immunisation session.
Immunisation providers should continue to:
- administer second and third HPV vaccine doses to immunocompromised people
- report all vaccinations administered to the Australian Immunisation Register, including all HPV doses administered leading up to the schedule change.
- promote HPV vaccination in their local communities
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Reviewed 06 February 2023