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Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects you against human papillomavirus infection. HPV infection can cause genital warts and cancers of the head, neck, genitals, anus and cervix.

It is important for women to continue to have their regular Cervical Screening Test even if they have been vaccinated.

Vaccine recommendations

Gardasil®9

Gardasil®9 offers protection against nine HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) providing protection against disease from HPV infection, which is associated with some cancers and genital warts.

Gardasil®9 vaccine is free for eligible students as a 2 dose course under the School Immunisation Program. A 3 dose course is recommended for students who are immunocompromised or for those who start their course aged greater than 15 years. Speak to your doctor for more information. 

This vaccine is also recommended for:

  • females aged between 9 and 45 years of age
  • males aged between 9 and 26 years of age.

Gardasil®

Gardasil® offers protection against four HPV types (6, 11, 16 and 18) and is recommended for men who have sex with men (MSM) who have not previously been vaccinated with three doses of HPV vaccine. Gardasil ® protects against the two high-risk HPV types (types 16 and 18), which cause 90% of all HPV-related cancers in men, it also protects against two low-risk HPV types (types 6 and 11), which cause 90% of genital warts.

Gardasil® vaccine is available for men aged 20 to 26 years as a 3 dose course until 31 July 2019.

How the vaccine is given

The HPV vaccine is given as an injection into the top of the arm.

Possible side effects

Like any medications, the HPV vaccines can have some minor and short lasting side effects.

Common side effects may include:

  • mild to moderate pain, redness and swelling where the injection was given
  • a fever
  • feeling tired
  • muscle aches.

Uncommon side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • mild headaches
  • fainting
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hypersensitivity reactions that may include bronchospasm and an itchy rash.

Very rarely, you may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.

If you are concerned or worried, seek further advice from your doctor, immunisation provider, SA Health’s Immunisation Section or healthdirect Australia.

Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to SA Health.

Reducing the side effects

Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:

  • drinking extra fluids
  • resting
  • taking paracetamol as per the instructions on the packet.

Where to get immunised

To receive the vaccine, please contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal Health Centre to arrange an appointment. Men who are eligible to receive the free Gardasil® vaccines can also contact a sexual health clinic to arrange an appointment. 

For further information on immunisation providers, see the Immunisation services page.

HPV immunisation register

A national HPV Vaccination Program Register collects information on those vaccinated and notifies people if:

  • their vaccine course is incomplete and additional vaccines will be required, or
  • their vaccine course is complete.

More information on the HPV register, see the National HPV Vaccination Program Register website.

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