HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine

HPV vaccine prevents infection from human papillomavirus (HPV) types that are associated with many cancers.

Updated: December 9, 2017

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time.  Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
HPV vaccine prevents infection from human papillomavirus (HPV) types that are associated with many cancers. The type of cancer includes:
  •     cervical cancer in females
  •     vaginal and vulvar cancers in females
  •     anal cancer in females and males
  •     throat cancer in females and males
  •     penile cancer in males
HPV vaccine also prevents infection with HPV types that cause genital warts in both females and males. This vaccine does not protect against all HPV types that can cause cervical cancer. So it is not a substitute for cervical cancer screening. Women can still get cervical cancer after the vaccination.
HPV infection usually comes from sexual contact. Most often these infections will go away on their own and not cause serious problems. But there is a probability of getting cancer and other diseases from HPV, for both women and men. 

HPV Vaccine are of 3 types:

  • Gardasil HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine for males and females
  • Gardasil 9 HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine for males and females
  • Cervarix HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine for females only

HPV Vaccine: 

HPV vaccine is approved by FDA and is recommended by CDC for both males and females. It is usually given at the age of 11 or 12 years, but it may be given at the age of 9 years through 26 years.
Two doses of HPV vaccine should be given with an interval of 6 to 12 months for adolescents 9 through 14 years of age. For people who start HPV vaccination at 15 years of age and older should get three doses of the vaccine. The second dose should be given 1 to 2 months after the first dose and the third dose should be given 6 months after the first dose.
There are several exceptions to these recommended age which can be better explained by your health care provider. 

You should not get HPV vaccine if:

  • You ever had a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of HPV vaccine. The next dose should not be given.
  • You have a severe or life threatening allergy to any component of HPV vaccine.  If you have any severe allergies that you are aware of, including a severe allergy to yeast, speak to your doctor.
  • You are pregnant. HPV vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. There is no reason to expect any problems for you or your baby if you learn that you were pregnant when you were vaccinated. If this happens they are encouraged to contact the registry of manufacturer for HPV vaccination during pregnancy at 1-800-986-8999. Women who are breastfeeding may be vaccinated.
  • You are moderately or severely ill. You should probably wait until you recover.

Risks of HPV vaccine:

There are chances of side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare.
Some of the mild Problems following  HPV vaccine include: 
  • Reactions such as soreness, redness or swelling in the arm where the shot was given.
  • Fever
  • Headache

Problems that could happen after HPV vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website

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