Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

The HPV vaccine protects you against human papillomavirus infection. HPV infection can cause genital warts and cancers of the head, throat, genitals, anus and cervix and is mainly transmitted through sexual contact.

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

Vaccine recommendations


Gardasil 9 offers protection to males and females against nine HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) providing protection against disease from HPV infection.

Gardasil 9 vaccine is free for students in year 8 as a 2 dose course under the School Immunisation Program.

Students who are immunocompromised may require 3 doses, see the Medical at risk immunisation recommendations page for further information on these recommendations.

The optimal age to receive this vaccine is 12-13 years of age, prior to sexual activity, as it provides a high level of protection if given before exposure to the HPV virus. However, it is still beneficial to get vaccinated after this age, as the vaccine protects against many strains..

Adolescents who start their course aged 15 years or over also require 3 doses, but only 2 of these 3 doses are provided for free under the National Immunisation Program.

Where can I find immunisation records?

Not sure if you or your child has had all required doses of the vaccine? Check your immunisation history and talk to your doctor about catching up if needed.

You can get your immunisation history through a few ways:

  • straight away using your Medicare online account through myGov.
  • using the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
  • by calling Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809.

If you are not sure if your immunisations have been recorded, check with your immunisation provider.

Please note: you can get your child’s statement if they are under 14 years of age. Due to privacy laws, anyone aged 14 years or older has to get their own statement.

Catching up on missed vaccines

If you are under 20 years of age, you can still receive any missed vaccines that are provided through School Immunisation Program for free. See your immunisation provider or doctor for further information.

If you are over 19 years of age and would like to receive this vaccine, speak to your doctor for more information.

This vaccine is also registered for use in:

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

Men who have sex with men and people who are immunocompromised are at higher risk of contracting HPV infection and are therefore also recommended to receive the HPV vaccine.

How the vaccine is given

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

Possible side effects 

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

Common side effects may include:

  • mild to moderate pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • a mild fever of 37-38 degrees Celsius
  • feeling tired
  • dizziness
  • mild headaches
  • fainting
  • nausea.

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

If you are concerned, 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.

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.