HPV vaccine benefits and side effects

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection that infects 80% of the sexually active population in the United States Most new HPV infections occur in adolescents and young adults who do not know they are infected, leaving them Can transmit the virus to their sexual partners without realizing it.

There is currently no cure, and the best defense against HPV is vaccination. To that end, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children get the HPV vaccine when they are 11 to 12 years old, and even allows some people to be vaccinated before age 45.

Learn more about the HPV vaccine – including recommendations and expected outcomes.

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. In fact, it’s so common that nearly all sexually active adults will get infected at least once in their lifetime if they don’t get vaccinated against the virus.

About 13 million Americans are infected each year, And, while most infections go away on their own without symptoms or consequences, some can lead to genital warts or cancer (most commonly cervical cancer in women and anal cancer in men who have sex with men).

10 things you should know about HPV

About Gardasil-9

There are three HPV vaccines. They protect against 2 to 9 high-risk HPV strains. These strains are closely associated with the development of cancer.

Gardasil-9 has been the only one used in the U.S. since 2016, and it protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. Gardasil-9 is administered in 0.5 milliliter injection (mL) doses.

Two other vaccines — Cervarix and the original Gardasil — were voluntarily withdrawn from the U.S. market in favor of Gardasil-9.

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Immunization Program

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that everyone get the HPV vaccine as part of routine vaccinations between the ages of 11 or 12 to 26 years. That is, the vaccine can be given to anyone between the ages of 9 and 45.

The number and timing of doses depends on when the first dose is given:

  • For children 9 to 14 years: 6 to 12 months between doses.
  • For adolescents and adults ages 15 to 45: Take three doses over six months.

Adults over the age of 26 who are interested in the HPV vaccine should discuss the benefits and limitations of vaccination with their healthcare provider. The vaccine is expected to be less effective in this population because most people have been exposed to HPV by this age.

Unlike CDC guidelines, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends HPV vaccination starting at age 9 to increase vaccination rates. ACS does not recommend HPV vaccine after age 26.

What should I do if my partner has HPV?


The biggest reason to get the HPV vaccine is that it protects you from strains that can cause cancer or genital warts.This protection appears to be durable, research suggests At least 10 years.

From 2012 to 2016, approximately 44,000 HPV-related cancers occurred in the United States, including nearly all cervical and anal cancers and most cases of penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Research also suggests that about 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancers may be associated with HPV; many of these cancers may be caused by a combination of the virus, tobacco use, and alcohol use.

While Gardasil-9 doesn’t protect against all strains of HPV, it does protect against the strains most likely to cause cancer. Among them, HPV types 16 and 18 account for about 70% of all cervical cancers.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, widespread HPV vaccination among children can prevent 92 percent of HPV-related cancers in the United States, which translates to 32,000 fewer cancer cases each year.

Why aren’t more American teens getting the HPV vaccine?

side effect

As with any vaccine, Gardasil-9 can cause side effects. Most are temporary and almost always mild. The most common include:

  • redness, swelling, or soreness at the injection site
  • low-grade fever
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • body pain

Although allergic reactions are possible, severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, are extremely rare.

When to call 911

If you suspect that you or someone else may be experiencing an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction after taking Gardasil-9 include:

  • rash or hives
  • Dizziness
  • fast heartbeat or palpitations
  • nausea or vomiting
  • shortness of breath
  • respite
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat
  • feeling of impending doom

If left untreated, allergic reactions can lead to shock, coma and even death.

Should men get the HPV vaccine?

Precautions and contraindications

While almost everyone can safely get the HPV vaccine, some people shouldn’t. According to the CDC, you should not receive Gardasil-9 if:

  • You have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the HPV vaccine or any component of the vaccine in the past. Gardasil-9 is produced in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast), contraindicated for those with a history of yeast allergy.
  • You have moderate or severe illness (in which case you should wait until you recover before getting vaccinated).
  • you are pregnant. The HPV vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. However, if you find out you are pregnant after starting your HPV vaccine series, there is nothing to worry about. Still, any additional doses should be delayed until you are no longer pregnant.

Even if you test positive for HPV, you can still get Gardasil-9 because it protects against other HPV strains.

Ensuring vaccine safety

Vaccines are tested on thousands of people during clinical trials to verify their safety and efficacy before they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

There are also systems to monitor safety and efficacy once a vaccine like Gardasil-9 is introduced to the U.S. market.These include:

  • Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS): A reporting system used by the CDC and FDA for research and surveillance purposes that allows anyone to report adverse events following vaccination
  • Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD): A group of healthcare organizations that conduct research to determine whether certain side effects are associated with a particular vaccine
  • Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network: A group of vaccine safety experts and organizations established by the CDC to study safety issues after vaccine introduction

When these systems flag potential adverse events, ACIP reviews the evidence and adjusts its recommendations as needed.

HPV vaccination and fainting risk

After Gardasil-9 was released in 2016, reports of syncope (fainting) prompted the ACIP to issue a recommendation that people sit or lie down for 15 minutes after being vaccinated to prevent falls or injuries.

Am I too old to get the HPV vaccine?

VigorTip words

If you or your child has had any adverse reactions to vaccines in the past, tell your healthcare provider before getting Gardasil-9. This does not mean that you need to avoid vaccinations, but it is recommended that you monitor your condition after vaccinations. In most cases, the benefits of HPV vaccination outweigh the risks.

How to get Gardasil-9 for free or at a lower cost