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HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine for Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

Why does my child need the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine?

The 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.

What is the 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.
  • A third dose may be given if your child is 9 to 11 and 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.
Recommended HPV Immunization Schedule

What are reasons my 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.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What are the 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.

When should I seek immediate care?

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

When should I call my child's doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns about the HPV vaccine.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

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Further information

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