The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Merck & Co’s new version of Gardasil which protects against an additional five strains of the human papillomavirus that causes most cases of cervical cancer.

Gardasil 9 has been given the green light for the prevention of certain diseases caused by nine types of HPV, five more than Gardasil, approved by the FDA back in 2006. The agency added that Gardasil 9 has the potential to prevent approximately 90% of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers.

The FDA noted that Gardasil 9 adds protection against five additional HPV types (31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) which cause 20% of cervical cancers and are not covered by previously-approved HPV vaccines. It is approved for use in females ages nine-26 and males (nine-15).

Gardasil 9 is administered as three separate shots, with the initial dose followed by additional shots given two and six months later. Its safety was evaluated in 13,000 males and females.