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Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines

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 Pap smears even if they have been vaccinated.

Vaccine recommendations

The brand of HPV vaccine you have, will determine what HPV types you will be protected against

Gardasil®

Offers protection against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 which are associated with some cancers and genital warts and is free for eligible students under the School Immunisation Program.

This vaccine is also recommended for:

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

Cervarix®

Offers protection against HPV types 16 and 18 which are associated with some cancers. The Cervarix vaccine is currently only recommended for females aged between 10 and 45 years of age.

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.

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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