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CDC officials advised avoiding a statement on preference of one over the other. "We wanted to facilitate a market for both vaccines," said Dr. Lauri Markowitz, a CDC HPV expert.
No studies have addresses whether the vaccines are interchangeable -- that is, if a girl can get, say, the Merck product for the first dose but the Glaxo product for one or both of the subsequent doses.
Neither vaccine is recommended for pregnant women -- a precaution, because the effect of the vaccine on pregnant women and developing fetuses has not been thoroughly studied.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new use for Gardasil, to prevent genital warts in boys.
The committee considered whether to recommend routine vaccination of boys against HPV, partly as a strategy to prevent the spread of HPV to girls. Fewer that 40 percent of the girls and young women recommended to get Gardasil have gotten a first shot, and fewer than 20 percent have had the whole three-dose series.
Some physicians who work with adolescents passionately endorsed such a step. But the committee decided not to do that, after hearing experts say such a strategy was not very cost effective, and female HPV vaccination rates are expected to rise without such a step.
But while doctors are not expected to prod families to get their boys vaccinated against HPV, the committee voted that for families who want it for their boys ages 9 to 18, it will be covered by a federal program that pays for vaccinations for children who are uninsured or on Medicaid or meet other criteria.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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