- What is HPV?
- Can a vaccine help prevent HPV?
- Are the HPV vaccines safe?
- Who should be vaccinated against HPV and when?
- What are the benefits of the HPV vaccines?
- How much do the HPV vaccines cost? Are they covered by health insurance plans?
- Do women who have been vaccinated against HPV still need Pap tests?
- Can cervical cancer be prevented without a HPV vaccine?
- To learn more
Are the HPV vaccines safe?
Based on approval by the FDA, Gardasil and Gardasil 9 are safe for females ages 9 to 26 years, while Cervarix is safe for females ages 9 to 25 years.
Based on FDA approval, Gardasil is also safe for males ages 9 through 26 years, while Gardasil 9 is safe for males aged 9 through 15. Boys and young men may choose to get one of these vaccines to prevent anal cancer and genital warts.
All of the HPV vaccines were tested in thousands of people around the world before they were approved. These studies showed no serious side effects and no deaths have been linked to either vaccine. Common, mild side effects include pain where the shot was given, fever, dizziness, and nausea.
People may faint after getting any vaccine, including HPV vaccines. Fainting after getting a shot is more common in teens than in young children or adults. To keep people from getting hurt from fainting, a 15-minute waiting period for people of all ages is recommended after any vaccination.
All of the HPV vaccines are monitored for side effects, especially rare ones not seen in the study trials, even those approved several years ago. CDC and FDA doctors and scientists still review all reports of serious side effects reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to watch for potential new vaccine safety concerns that may need further study. (The VAERS is a national reporting system that looks at reports of side effects after vaccinations.) The American Cancer Society will watch those reviews and report any concerns about the safety of the vaccines.
Last Medical Review: 04/09/2014
Last Revised: 02/03/2016