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Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

Human papillomavirus vaccines help protect against certain types of human papillomavirus infections. Cervical cancer, genital warts, and various precancerous genital lesions are some of the conditions that may be prevented by these vaccines. There are two versions of the vaccine: Cervarix and Gardasil (Gardasil is also approved for use in boys and men). Some of the more common side effects of this product include nausea, dizziness, and reactions at the injection site.

What Is the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine?

There are currently two different HPV vaccines. The newest HPV vaccine approved for use in the United States is Cervarix® (Human Papillomavirus Bivalent [Types 16 and 18] Vaccine, Recombinant). Cervarix is approved for preventing cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions in girls and women 9 through 25 years old.
The first vaccine approved for use in the United States was Gardasil® (Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus [Types 6, 11, 16, and 18] Recombinant Vaccine). It is approved to prevent cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, genital warts, and various precancerous genital lesions caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV for short) in girls and women ages 9 through 26.
Gardasil is also approved to prevent genital warts in boys and men in the same age group. Recently, Gardasil was also approved to prevent anal cancer and precancerous anal lesions in males and females age 9 to 26 years.
(Click What Is the HPV Vaccine Used For? for more information on what the human papillomavirus vaccine is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with the human papillomavirus vaccine. However, not everyone who gets the human papillomavirus vaccine will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the vaccine well.
When side effects do occur, they are often minor and either require no treatment or can be easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
The most common side effects of the human papillomavirus vaccine include:
  • Reactions at the injection site, including:


    • Pain
    • Swelling
    • Redness
    • Itching


  • Fever
  • Upset stomach (nausea)
  • Dizziness.
(Click HPV Vaccine Side Effects to learn about the specific side effects of this vaccine, including serious side effects to look out for.)
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HPV Vaccine-Overview

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