HPV Vaccine Information
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Gardasil®-9 Vaccine*
In women, the Gardasil-9 vaccine prevents cancers and other conditions caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, including:
• cervical cancer
• vaginal and vulvar cancers
• anal cancer and
• genital warts.
The HPV infection usually comes from sexual contact, and most people will become infected at some point in their life. While many infections go away and don’t cause serious problems, thousands of women get cancer and diseases from HPV.
About the HPV vaccine
Gardasil-9 is one of three FDA-approved HPV vaccines. It is recommended for both males and females and is routinely given at 11 or 12 years of age, but it may be given beginning at age 9 years through age 26 years. Three doses of Gardasil-9 are recommended with the second and third dose 1-2 months and 6 months after the first dose.
Note: 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 and have an annual wellness exam every year. Insurance coverage for HPV ends at age 26.
Women who are pregnant should not get an HPV vaccine. Others include:
• Anyone who has had a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of HPV vaccine should not get another dose. Anyone who has a severe (life threatening) allergy to any component of HPV vaccine should not get the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies that you know of, including a severe allergy to yeast.
• HPV vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. If you learn that you were pregnant when you were vaccinated, there is no reason to expect any problems for you or the baby. Any woman who learns she was pregnant when she got this HPV vaccine is encouraged to contact the manufacturer’s registry for HPV vaccination during pregnancy at 1-800-986-8999. Women who are breastfeeding may be vaccinated.
• If you have a mild illness you can probably get the vaccine today. If you are moderately or severely ill, you should probably wait until you recover. Your doctor can advise you.
Risks of a vaccine reaction
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 problems with it.
Mild or moderate problems following Gardasil-9
• Reactions in the arm where the shot was given: pain, redness or swelling
• Fever: mild to moderate (100 F to 102)
• Other problems: headache
Problems that could happen after any vaccine:
• People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting, and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you feel dizzy, or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
• Some people get severe pain in the shoulder and have difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given. This happens very rarely.
• Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at fewer than 1 in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
What if there is a serious reaction? What should I look for?
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.
What should I do if I think I am having a reaction?
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 provider.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 website, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
*This information is from the Centers for Disease Control HPV VIS (Vaccine Information Statement) dated 4/15/2015.