The HPV Vaccine for Teens and Preteens
The HPV vaccine only protects against an HPV infection; it doesn’t get rid of an infection that has already occurred. For this reason, it’s best if the vaccine is given early -- before a person becomes sexually active.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP, the group of experts that develops recommendations for the use of vaccines in the United States) recommends all boys and girls who are 11 or 12 years old should receive three doses of HPV vaccine to protect against related diseases. The vaccine can be given to children as young as 9 years old, if a healthcare provider determines it is appropriate.
If a girl didn’t receive the vaccine by age 13, or didn’t get all three doses, she can still get it through age 26. The vaccine is also recommended for boys 13 to 21 years old who haven’t already received the vaccine or didn’t get all three doses. A healthcare provider may recommend the vaccine for certain men ages 21 to 26 years old who still haven’t received it. This would include men who have a weakened immune system and men who have sex with other men.
Both HPV vaccines have been thoroughly studied and are safe for use. Your child might experience some side effects after each dose, but these should be mild.
Some children have also fainted after getting the HPV shot. However, this isn’t particularly unusual. Fainting has been reported with other vaccines as well. It helps to have your child sit or lie down for 15 minutes after the shot.