Genital warts

25 March 2009

HPV vaccine

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil, a vaccine that is highly effective in preventing persistent infection of HPV.

Why should you get vaccinated?
Widespread vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer deaths around the world by as much as two thirds, if all women were to take the vaccine and if protection turns out to be long-term.

However, vaccinated women still need cancer screening as it does not protect against all HPV types that cause cervical cancer.

How effective are HPV vaccines?
Gardasil and Cervarix are highly effective in preventing infection with the types of HPV that they target.

Who should get vaccinated and when?
The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls 11-12 years old. Doctors my give it to girls as young as 9 years. It is important for girls to get the HPV vaccine before they become sexually active because they have not been exposed to HPV.

Who should not get the vaccine or wait?

  • Anyone who has ever had a life threatening allergic reactions to yeast, to any component of the HPV vaccine or to a previous does of HPV vaccine

  • Pregnant women should not get the vaccine. The vaccine appears to be safe for both the mother and the unborn baby however, this is still being studied. If you have received the vaccine while you are pregnant there is no need to terminate the pregnancy. Women who are breastfeeding may get the vaccine.

  • People who are mildly ill when the injection is scheduled can still get the vaccine however, if you are seriously ill you should wait until you have fully recovered.

How safe is the HPV vaccine?
The vaccine does not appear to have any serious side effects however, a vaccine like any other medication can cause serious problems such as severe allergic reaction. The risk of any vaccine causing serious problems or death is very small.

Mild problems

  • Pain at the injection site

  • Redness or swelling at the injection site

  • Mild fever

  • Itching at the injection site

  • Moderate fever

These symptoms do not last long and may go away on their own.

(Source: National Institute of Health)


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

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