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HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine for Adolescents


Why your adolescent needs the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine:

  • The HPV vaccine is an injection given to females and males to protect against human papillomavirus infection. HPV is the most common infection spread by sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is most effective if it is given before sexual activity begins. This allows your adolescent's body to build protection against HPV before coming in contact with the virus.
  • HPV infections may cause oral and genital warts or tumors in your adolescent's nose, mouth, throat, and lungs. The HPV vaccine is the most effective way to prevent most cancers caused by HPV infection. HPV infection may also cause vaginal, penile, and anal cancers.

HPV vaccine schedule:

The first dose may be given as early as 9 years of age. The HPV vaccine can be given with other vaccines. If your adolescent is not vaccinated by age 12, he or she can still get the vaccine. It can be given through age 26.

  • The vaccine is given in 2 doses if the first dose is given between ages 9 through 14:
    • The first dose is given at any time.
    • The second dose is given 6 to 12 months after the first dose.
  • The vaccine is given in 3 doses if the first dose is given at 15 years or older. A third dose may also be given if your child has a weakened immune system. His or her healthcare provider will tell you if a third dose is needed.
    • The first dose is given at any time.
    • The second dose is given 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
    • The third dose is given 6 months after the first dose.

Reasons your adolescent should not get the vaccine, or should wait to get it:

  • He or she had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of the vaccine.
  • She is pregnant. The provider will tell you when she can get the vaccine.
  • He or she is sick or has a fever. Your adolescent may need to wait to get the vaccine until symptoms go away.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • Your adolescent has signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, hives, or wheezing.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your adolescent has a high fever or behavior changes that concern you.

Call your adolescent's doctor if:

  • You have questions or concerns about the HPV vaccine.

Apply a warm compress

to the area to relieve swelling and pain.

Risks of the HPV vaccine:

Your adolescent may have pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given. He or she may have a fever or headache. He or she may also have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Follow up with your adolescent's doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your adolescent's visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.