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, 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.
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, which is associated with some cancers and genital warts.
Gardasil 9 vaccine is free for students in year 8 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 15 years or over. Only 2 of these 3 doses are provided free under the National Immunisation Program. The optimal age to receive this vaccine is 12-13 years of age. 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 of the 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
- mild headaches
Very rarely, you may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.
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
- 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.