HPV Vaccines

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Are the HPV vaccines safe?

The FDA reports that both HPV vaccines, Gardasil (approved in 2006) and Cervarix (approved in 2009), are safe for females ages 9 to 26 years.

As of 2009, Gardasil is also licensed and considered safe for males ages 9 through 26 years. Boys and young men may choose to get this vaccine to prevent anal cancer and genital warts.

Both 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.

Both HPV vaccines are still being monitored for side effects, especially rare ones not seen in the study trials. 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: 04/22/2014