HPV Vaccine Safety & Effectiveness

Kathleen Cartmell lecturing

Why does my child need the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers and genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus infection. HPV causes most cervical and anal cancers and many oro-pharyngeal, vaginal, vulvar, and penile cancers.

When should my child be vaccinated?

Children who start the series between 9 and 14 years of age should get two shots of the HPV vaccine six months apart. Adolescents who start the series after their 15th birthday will require three doses of the HPV vaccine, with the second dose 2 months after the first, and the third dose 6 months after the first.

Who else should get the HPV vaccine?

Teen boys and girls who did not start or finish the HPV vaccine series when they were younger should get it now. The HPV vaccine is recommended for young men through age 21 and for young women through age 26.  The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) also has licensed its use for women and men up to age 45.

Is the HPV vaccine is long-lasting?

Research shows that vaccine protection is long-lasting. Current studies have followed vaccinated individuals for 12 years, and show that there is no evidence of weakened protection over time.

Is the HPV vaccine safe?

Yes, the HPV vaccine is safe. HPV vaccination has been studied very carefully and continues to be monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the 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.