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Pediatrics. 2012 Aug;130(2):e249-56. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3587. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Vaccine-type human papillomavirus and evidence of herd protection after vaccine introduction.

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  • 1Division of Adolescent Medicine, MLC 4000, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.



The aims of this study were to compare prevalence rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) in young women before and after HPV vaccine introduction to determine the following: (1) whether vaccine-type HPV infection decreased, (2) whether there was evidence of herd protection, and (3) whether there was evidence for type-replacement (increased prevalence of nonvaccine-type HPV).


Young women 13 to 26 years of age who had had sexual contact were recruited from 2 primary care clinics in 2006-2007 for a prevaccination surveillance study (N = 368, none were vaccinated) and 2009-2010 for a postvaccination surveillance study (N = 409, 59% were vaccinated). Participants completed a questionnaire and were tested for cervicovaginal HPV DNA. HPV prevalence rates were compared in the pre- versus postsurveillance studies by using χ(2) tests. Propensity score weighting was used to balance differences in covariates between the 2 surveillance studies.


The mean age was ∼19 years for both groups of participants and most were African American and non-Hispanic. After propensity score weighting, the prevalence rate for vaccine-type HPV decreased substantially (31.7%-13.4%, P < .0001). The decrease in vaccine-type HPV not only occurred among vaccinated (31.8%-9.9%, P < .0001) but also among unvaccinated (30.2%-15.4%, P < .0001) postsurveillance study participants. Nonvaccine-type HPV increased (60.7%-75.9%, P < .0001) for vaccinated postsurveillance study participants.


Four years after licensing of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, there was a substantial decrease in vaccine-type HPV prevalence and evidence of herd protection in this community. The increase in nonvaccine-type HPV in vaccinated participants should be interpreted with caution but warrants further study.

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