One dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has comparable effectiveness to two or three doses for preventing cervical pre-cancer, a new study involving 250,000 Australian women shows.
Researchers compared cervical screening outcomes for the women, which showed those who were vaccinated at a young age had a lower risk of pre-cancerous lesions detected at cervical screening.
Lead author Julia Brotherton from the not-for-profit VCS Foundation and the University of Melbourne said the data added to other evidence starting to emerge that one dose of HPV vaccine may eventually prove to be sufficient for protection.
"If one dose vaccination proves to be enough, it will really simplify our ability to protect more people against these cancer-causing viruses," Associate Professor Brotherton said in a statement on Thursday.
"That could make a huge difference, especially in less well-resourced countries that currently have high rates of cervical cancer but can't currently afford vaccination or screening."
However, she emphasised that until the results of formal trials came in and recommendations changed, young people should continue to complete the two-dose vaccination course currently in place for best protection.
In Australia, HPV vaccination is routinely offered free of charge under the National Immunisation Program to girls and boys in early high school at age 12-13 years, with free catch up available up to the age of 19 through local doctors and clinics.
The study is published in Papillomavirus Research.
Australian Associated Press
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