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HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine for Children


The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

is an injection given to females and males to protect against human papillomavirus infection. The HPV vaccine is the most effective way to prevent most cancers caused by HPV infection. HPV infection can cause cervical and vaginal cancers in women and penile cancer in men. It can also cause throat cancer and genital warts. 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 child's body to build protection against HPV before he or she has contact with the virus.

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.

  • 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 age 15 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 child should not get the vaccine, or should wait to get it:

Your child should not get a second dose if he or she had an allergic reaction to the first. If your child is sick or has a fever, wait to get the vaccine until he or she is well.

Risks of the HPV vaccine:

Your child 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.

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

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

Seek care immediately if:

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

Call your child's 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 child's doctor as directed:

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