Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

What Is Human Papillomavirus?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital warts and changes in the cervix that can result in cervical cancer. It can also lead to cancer in other areas, such as the penis, anus and throat.

Immunization Against HPV

There is a vaccine, known as 9vHPV, to prevent infection and protection against the spread of HPV. Because HPV can cause serious problems, it is recommended that every child (both girls and boys) receive the vaccination. The Centers for Disease control, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend the HPV vaccine as an effective measure to protect against cancer. 

When Is the Vaccination Given?

The vaccine is given as a series of three shots over a 6-month period. It is recommended for both girls and boys starting at age 11, but it can also be given well into young adulthood. The vaccine is currently approved for young women from as early as age 9 through age 26 and young men from age 9 through age 21. It works best when given before becoming sexually active, but is still recommended if the patient is has already been sexually active.

The vaccine is given in 3 shots, with the second shot given 1-2 months after the first shot and the third shot given 6 months after the first shot. It is recommended to receive the full HPV vaccine series.

The vaccine is not recommended if:

  • Your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • Your child had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the first dose of HPV vaccine or has a yeast allergy
  • Your daughter is pregnant

What Are the Risks From the 9vHPV Vaccine?

As with any vaccine, there can be irritation, pain or swelling around the injection site. Dizziness, fainting, nausea and vomiting also may occur after the shot. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare. There is currently no conclusive evidence that the HPV vaccine causes serious health issues.

How Do I Care for My Child After He/She Receives the Vaccine?

Your child may experience fever, soreness and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication and to find out the appropriate dosage.

Visit the 700 Children's Blog to learn more about the new HPV vaccine and how it can benefit your child.