What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus. Eight out of ten people will get HPV at some point in their lives. It infects nearly 14 million Americans, including teens, each year.
Infections caused by HPV can lead to 6 types of cancers including:
- Cervix, vagina, and vulva (area outside of the vagina) cancer in women
- Penial cancer in men
- Anus and throat cancers, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx), in both women and men
What Does the Vaccine Prevent?
The HPV vaccine provides protection against HPV infection and pre-cancers caused by certain types of HPV at a rate of almost 100%. According to the CDC, HPV is estimated to cause nearly 36,000 cases of cancer in men and women in the United States yearly. The HPV vaccination can prevent more than 90% of these cancers from ever developing.
The HPV vaccine was approved for use in 2006. With more than 12 years of data, we know that HPV vaccine offers long-lasting protection against HPV infection and HPV disease. The HPV vaccination does not lose the ability to protect against new HPV infections over time.
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
It is recommended to get your child vaccinated earlier rather than later to protect them before they are exposed to an infection. HPV vaccination is recommended beginning at age 9 and works the best when administrated to all children between the ages of 9 to 12.
Children who start the vaccination series between the ages of 9 to 14 will receive two doses. Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, need three doses of HPV vaccine.
Per the CDC, Vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. However, some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination. HPV vaccination in this age range provides less benefit, as more people have already been exposed to HPV.
What are the most common side effects?
The most common side effects of HPV vaccine are usually mild and include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given
- Headache or feeling tired
- Muscle or joint pain
Where are HPV Vaccines available?
HPV vaccine may be available at private doctor offices, community health clinics, school-based health centers, and local health departments.
The Vaccines for Children program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. The program provides vaccines at no cost to children ages 18 years and younger who are uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian/Alaska Native.
Vaccines for Children Program