Mayo Clinic: What is the best age for boys and girls to get
the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine? There seems to be a
range, but I have read recommendations where that range
differs. Is it true that if they don’t get the vaccine by a
certain age, they are better off waiting until their 20s?
Finally, what are the known side effects of the vaccine?
HPV vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine that prevents some
types of cancer. The best time for boys and girls to get the
vaccine is before they are exposed to the virus. The vaccine
is available for kids and is routinely given starting at age
9. It can safely be given between the ages of 9 and 26. There
is not a medical reason that patients need to wait until their
20s to get the vaccine. Side effects are uncommon and
generally mild, including pain at the site of the injection.
the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. An
estimated 14 million people get the infection every year.
Although most cases of HPV are asymptomatic, HPV is a
dangerous sexually transmitted virus that can be deadly. Two
strains of the virus cause 70 percent of all cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer can be difficult to treat, and it is often
life-threatening. HPV infections also can lead to other
genital and anal cancers in females, as well as penile cancer
and anal cancer in males. In addition, HPV causes genital
warts in both men and women.
vaccine has proven to be an effective way to prevent HPV
infection. The vaccine is given as a series of three
injections over six months. To be effective, a person needs to
receive all three doses of the vaccine before being exposed to
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the HPV
vaccine for girls 11 to 12 years old. The vaccination series
can be started at age 9. The vaccine also is recommended for
females 13 through 26 who have not been vaccinated. The
recommendation includes both the HPV2 vaccine (marketed under
the brand name Cervarix) and the HPV4 vaccine (brand name
recommends HPV4 vaccine for boys ages 11 to 12. Again, the
vaccination series can be started at 9. The recommendation
also includes males 13 through 21 who have not been
vaccinated. The recommendation for boys includes only the HPV4
vaccine (Gardasil), as it covers two types of HPV that cause
genital warts. The HPV2 vaccine only covers those that cause
effects of the HPV vaccine are typically mild. Common side
effects include pain, swelling, or redness at the vaccination
site. Less common are headaches and a low-grade fever after
the injection. The HPV2 vaccine also may cause nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. Although it is not
common, HPV vaccination may result in fainting in some people.
Because of this, when children receive the vaccine, they
should remain seated for about 15 minutes after the injection
to lower the risk of harm from fainting. They also should tell
their health care provider if they feel faint.
these mild side effects, the vaccine has been proven to be
safe and was evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA). Millions of doses of the vaccine have
been given and closely monitored. A wealth of data supports
the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine. It can
protect against a deadly form of cancer. Giving children the
HPV vaccine is a critical step in ensuring their long-term