10/30/2014 01:21 EDT | Updated 12/30/2014 05:59 EST

Two rather than 3 HPV vaccine dosages will suffice for girls under 15: study

VANCOUVER - New research by a team in British Columbia shows girls under 15 years would only need two rather than three doses of HPV vaccine to protect themselves from certain forms of cancer.

The province's health ministry says researchers at B.C. Children's Hospital's vaccine evaluation centre found that girls between ages nine and 13 who received three vaccine doses have roughly the same average antibody levels as girls who received two doses.

B.C. had previously administered three doses of the human papillomavirus vaccine to combat the most common cases of cervical cancer, and the new finding means a booster shot given in Grade 9 has been dropped.

The ministry says it will reinvest any savings from the changes into increasing vaccination rates among girls, which is now at 69 per cent.

It also says that as a result of the study, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has updated its HPV vaccine recommendations throughout Canada.

Women who are 26 or younger who want the vaccine should still receive three doses.