Cervical Cancer

Updated 26 March 2018

Which types of HPV does the vaccine protect against?

There are two vaccines available on the market and they protect against different types of HPV.

There are two vaccines available on the market and they protect against different types of HPV.

The Gardasil vaccine produced by Merck & Co. (Merck) is a quadrivalent vaccine because it protects against four HPV types: 6, 11, 16 and 18. Gardasil is given through a series of three injections into muscle tissue over a period of six months. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Gardasil for use in females for the prevention of cervical cancer, and some vulvar and vaginal cancers, caused by HPV types 16 and 18 and for use in males and females for the prevention of genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11.

Another vaccine, Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is bivalent because it targets two HPV types: 16 and 18. This vaccine is also administered in three doses over a period of six months. Findings have shown that Cervarix also protects against persistent infection with HPV 16 and 18.

Neither of these vaccines have proved to provide complete protection again persistent infection with other HPV types some of which cause cervical cancer. About 30% of cervical cancers and 10% genital warts will not be prevented by these vaccines. Neither vaccine prevents other sexually transmitted diseases, and they do not treat HPV infection or cervical cancer.

Because the vaccines do not protect against all HPV infections that cause cervical cancer, it is important for vaccinated women to continue to undergo cervical cancer screening as recommended for women who have not been vaccinated. - (Health24, August 2011)

Source: National Cancer Institute


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Cancer expert

CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst. For more information, visit

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules