Yes, the HPV vaccine is safe! HPV vaccination has been studied very carefully and continues to be monitored by CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over 10 years. Over 200 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been administered worldwide. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the vaccine has caused any significant adverse events.
Like any vaccine or medicine, HPV vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given; dizziness, fainting, nausea, and headache. HPV vaccination is typically not associated with any serious side effects. The benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh any potential risk of side effects.
HPV Vaccine Effectiveness
Research suggests that vaccine protection is long-lasting. Current studies have followed vaccinated individuals for ten years, and show that there is no evidence of weakened protection over time. The earlier you start the vaccine, the more robust the immune response.
- Efficacy has been widely demonstrated for the two prophylactic HPV vaccines – bivalent (bHPV) and quadrivalent (qHPV). Disease prevention remains the most important measure of long-term duration of vaccine efficacy. To date, the longest follow-up of an HPV vaccine has been 9.4 years for the bHPV vaccine. Long-term follow-up for qHPV vaccine goes up to 8 years. The vaccine continues to be immunogenic and well tolerated up to 9 years following vaccination.
- De Vincenzo, R., Conte, C., Ricci, C., Scambia, G., & Capelli, G. (2014). Long-term efficacy and safety of human papillomavirus vaccination. International journal of women's health, 6, 999-1010. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S50365
- The 9-valent HPV vaccine, which protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58, is safe and effective and will further reduce the incidence of HPV infection, as well as HPV-related cancers. It can also indirectly protect unvaccinated individuals through herd immunity. With an effective vaccination program, most cervical cancers can be prevented.
- Yang, D. Y., & Bracken, K. (2016). Update on the new 9-valent vaccine for human papillomavirus prevention. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 62(5), 399-402.
- Cervical cancer rates for young women fell after HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006. Among women ages 25-34, cervical cancer rates dropped 13% to 76 per 1 million, and both squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and non-SCC types declined.
- Guo, F., Cofie LE., & Berenson AB. (2018). Cervical Cancer Incidence in Young U.S. Females After Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Introduction. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 55(2), 197 – 204.
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