Can I still get the Gardasil 9 vaccine if I am older than 26 years old, and what are the benefits and considerations in getting it past the CDC approved age?
The Gardasil 9 vaccination provides protection against cervical cancer as well as warts.
When a medication or injection is approved by the government, it relies on research to support the claims made by the medications. In this case, the claim is that: In the few thousands of patients that the company gave the vaccine to, these girls were between 9 to 26 years old.
And according to the research, the injection did reach the outcomes that it claims. And hence, this is called the "label indication". So doctors also follow these "instructions" when we prescribe the medicine, because the medication is lisenced to be used in a certain way.
But obviously in real life, not everything is packed nicely into guidelines and instructions. There are cases where the doctor have to "ignore" the "instructions" written on the package, and that would be called an "off-label use" or "off-label indication".
There are many reasons why a doctor might want to do that, and this could be one of the reasons.
Just because a patient is 1 month older than 26 years old does not mean that she will not benefit from the vaccine. But, it is just that we do not have evidence/data/research to back up our claims.
The likelihood is that the patient will probably still benefit from the vaccine, but perhaps slightly lower proportion, but by how much? Nobody knows, until we uncover more research.
So a discussion with your GP/Gynae would be the most appropriate to cater to your case.
Dr Paul Ang
MBBS, GDFM, MRCSEd
266C Punggol Way
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