Are There Different HPV Vaccines?

Paul A. Offit, MD, describes the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and the differences between them.


Are there different HPV vaccines?

Paul Offit: Hi, my name is Paul Offit. I'm talking to you today from the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

One question that people ask is, “Is there just one HPV vaccine or is there more than one vaccine?” And the answer is there are actually three vaccines right now, and I'm talking to you today, November 2015. The three vaccines are: One, there's a vaccine called Cervarix®, which has two different types of HPV strains in it. Those types are termed 16 and 18, and that will prevent about 70 percent or so of the strains of HPV that can cause cancer — cancer of the head and neck, cancer of the anal and genital area, cancer of the cervix.

There's another vaccine called Gardasil® 4, which contains four serotypes of HPV. Again, like the Cervarix it contains 16 and 18, but it also contains types 6 and 11, which are … will prevent about 90 percent of the strains that cause anal and genital warts.

Now, there's another vaccine, a relatively new vaccine that just came out this year, 2015. It's called Gardasil® 9. So like Gardasil 4 it contains those two strains 16 and 18 that account for about 70 percent of the strains that cause cancers, and it also contains 6 and 11, just like the HPV4 or the Gardasil 4 contains, but it contains five additional serotypes, and those five serotypes are 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.

Those five additional serotypes, the serotypes in Gardasil 9 as compared to Gardasil 4, will protect against another roughly four or five thousand cases of cancers a year and several hundred deaths. So with Gardasil 9 you're preventing about 29 to 30 thousand cases a year, upwards of 5,000 deaths a year, so it's the best vaccine. I mean, frankly, it's the best vaccine because it provides the broadest coverage.

Related Centers and Programs: Vaccine Education Center