Healthy living

HPV vaccine

  • The human papillomavirus, HPV vaccine, is called GARDASIL®
  • This vaccine is available for females and males to protect against some of the most common types of HPV.
  • The vaccine provides best protection when it is given to someone before they become sexually active.

Video – Learn about the HPV vaccine

Read the video transcript Learn about the HPV vaccine.

Who should have the vaccine?

Both females and males should have the HPV vaccine, preferably before they become sexually active.

Who is the vaccine provided free for?

From 2014, the HPV vaccine will be offered to both girls and boys in Year 8. The catch up program for boys will cease.

If you miss a vaccination, you can arrange to receive your free immunisation through:

  • catch up sessions at school – contact your school nurse
  • community health clinics
  • Central Immunisation Clinic
  • your GP.

Note: Some immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee for administering the vaccine. You should check what the costs will be when making an appointment with your immunisation provider.

What are the benefits?

The HPV vaccine protects against 2 HPV types which cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer in women. There are also benefits for men – the vaccine protects males from 90 per cent of HPV types that cause cancers of the penis, anus and throat.

It also protects against an additional 2 HPV types which cause 90 per cent of genital warts in both sexes. This vaccine can help protect males against developing a range of cancers and diseases, while helping protect females from cervical cancer and HPV related diseases.

The vaccine does not treat existing HPV infections.

It is important for females to still have regular Pap smears even if they have had the full HPV vaccination.

What are the risks?

The HPV vaccine is safe and well tolerated. Around the world millions of doses have been given. The vaccine does not contain live HPV virus, but instead contains a protein that helps the body’s immune system fight HPV infection.

Common side effects

Common side effects include:

  • pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • a temporary small lump in the spot the injection was given
  • low grade fever
  • feeling unwell
  • headache
  • fainting may occur up to 30 minutes after any vaccination.
How is the vaccine given?

The HPV vaccine consists of 3 injections given into the upper arm over a 6 month period. It is important to get all 3 doses to get the maximum protection.

Will I need a booster vaccine?

Possibly, studies are currently underway to determine if a booster (extra) dose will be necessary in the future.

After the vaccination

The common side effects can be reduced by:

  • drinking extra fluids and not overdressing if you have a fever
  • placing a cold wet cloth on the sore injection site.

Reporting an adverse event

The Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance System (WAVSS) is the central reporting service in WA for any significant adverse events following immunisation.

If you have experienced an adverse reaction to a vaccine:

More information

Where to get help

  • For emergency or life-threatening conditions, visit an emergency department or dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance
  • See your doctor
  • Visit a GP after hours
  • Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222

Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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