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HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine for Adults


The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

is an injection given to females and males to protect against human papillomavirus infection. HPV is most commonly spread through sexual activity. It can also be spread from a mother to her baby during delivery. The HPV vaccine is most effective if given before sexual activity begins. This allows your body to build almost complete protection against HPV before you have contact with the virus. The HPV vaccine is still effective after sexual activity has begun.

How the vaccine is given:

The HPV vaccine can be given with other vaccines. The vaccine is given in 2 or 3 doses through age 26:

  • 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.

More information about how the vaccine is given:

You may need 1 more dose of the HPV vaccine if any of the following is true:

  • You only received 1 dose of the HPV vaccine before 15 years of age.
  • You received 2 doses of the HPV vaccine less than 5 months apart before 15 years of age.

Reasons you should not get the HPV vaccine, or should wait to get it:

  • You had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of the vaccine.
  • You are pregnant. Your healthcare provider will tell you when you can get the vaccine.
  • You are sick or have a fever. You may need to wait to get the vaccine until symptoms go away.

Risks of the HPV vaccine:

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

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

  • You have signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, hives, or wheezing.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a high fever or behavior changes that concern you.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have questions or concerns about the HPV vaccine.

Apply a warm compress

to the area to relieve swelling and pain.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your 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.