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Home > Health Library > HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine: What You Need to Know
HPV vaccine prevents infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) types that are associated with many cancers, including:
In addition, HPV vaccine prevents infection with HPV types that cause genital warts in both females and males.
In the U.S., about 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year, and about 4,000 women die from it. HPV vaccine can prevent most of these cases of cervical cancer.
Vaccination is not a substitute for cervical cancer screening. This vaccine does not protect against all HPV types that can cause cervical cancer. Women should still get regular Pap tests.
HPV infection usually comes from sexual contact, and most people will become infected at some point in their life. About 14 million Americans, including teens, get infected every year. Most infections will go away on their own and not cause serious problems. But thousands of women and men get cancer and other diseases from HPV.
HPV vaccine is approved by FDA and is recommended by CDC for both males and females. It is routinely given at 11 or 12 years of age, but it may be given beginning at age 9 years through age 26 years.
Most adolescents 9 through 14 years of age should get HPV vaccine as a two-dose series with the doses separated by 6-12 months. People who start HPV vaccination at 15 years of age and older should get the vaccine as a three-dose series with the second dose given 1-2 months after the first dose and the third dose given 6 months after the first dose. There are several exceptions to these age recommendations. Your health care provider can give you more information.
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible.
Most people who get HPV vaccine do not have any serious problems with it.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/.
Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or unusual behavior.
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 usually start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
If you think it is a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that can't wait, call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your doctor.
Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor should file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS web site at www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
VAERS does not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.
Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
Vaccine Information Statement
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many Vaccine Information Statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis.
Hojas de Información Sobre Vacunas están disponibles en español y en muchos otros idiomas. Visite http://www.immunize.org/vis.
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