1. Are HPV vaccines safe?

The HPV vaccine is safe and doesn’t contribute to any serious health issues. Like any vaccine or medicine, the vaccine may cause mild reactions. The most common are pain or redness in the arm where the shot is given. Other typical side effects include low-grade fever, headache or feeling tired, nausea, or muscle or joint pain – all of which are temporary. Rarely, an allergic reaction can occur, and individuals should not get the vaccine if they are allergic to any of the components.

1a. Tell me more about the safety of the HPV vaccine.

The vaccine itself has been researched for many years (including at least 10 years of research before it could even be used in humans) and is highly monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. Vaccinations in the U.S. have never been safer because of the stringent standards the FDA uses.

1b. Are serious allergic reactions common?

On very rare occasions, a person may have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any vaccine, including HPV vaccines. In the United States, anaphylaxis following vaccination has a reported rate of 3 cases per 1 million doses administered. If a person has a severe allergic reaction, the healthcare professional giving the vaccine will be fully trained in how to deal with it. People recover completely with treatment, usually within a few hours.

2. Can HPV vaccination lead to infertility?

Claims of HPV vaccine-induced infertility due to premature ovarian failure are anecdotal and not backed by research or clinical trials. A recent study of over 200,000 women found no association between the HPV vaccine and premature ovarian failure.

2a. Tell me more about the infertility issue.

In fact, the HPV vaccine can actually help protect fertility by preventing gynecological problems related to the treatment of cervical cancer. It’s possible that the treatment of cervical cancer could leave a woman unable to have children. It’s also possible that treatment for cervical pre-cancer could put a woman at risk for problems with her cervix, which could cause preterm delivery or other complications.

2b. Can these studies be trusted?

The study cited previously is published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal which accepts rigorously conducted studies. It is among many studies that have not found a link between HPV vaccination and infertility. 

3. How effective are HPV vaccines?

In the studies that led to the approval of HPV vaccines, the vaccines provided nearly 100% protection against persistent cervical infections with HPV types 16 and 18, plus the pre-cancers that those persistent infections can cause.

3a. Tell me more about the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine.

A clinical trial of HPV vaccines in men indicated that they can prevent anal cell changes caused by persistent infection and genital warts.

3b. Can HPV vaccines cause cancer?

HPV vaccines cannot cause cancer. The vaccine does not contain any live or killed HPV virus. It is made from a single protein like the one the virus has on its outer coat. When you have the vaccine, your body makes antibodies which it uses to fight the real virus if you're ever exposed to it.

4. Can getting the HPV vaccine encourage adolescents to be sexually promiscuous?

No research links the HPV vaccine to increases in sexual activity. There is no evidence that giving the HPV vaccine is linked with higher sexual activity. In fact, a recent article reviewing studies of over 500,000 individuals revealed that there was no increase in sexual activity after HPV vaccination. 

4a. Tell me more about this issue.

Studies show that vaccinated participants actually engaged in safer sexual practices than unvaccinated participants! Also, adolescents who get the vaccine don't have more partners after they become sexually active.

4b. Young children don’t need the HPV vaccine because they are not sexually active. Is this true?

The best time for children to get the vaccine is before he or she becomes sexually active. This is because the vaccine works best before there is any chance of infection with HPV. When the vaccine is given at this time, it can prevent almost all infection by the types of HPV the vaccine guards against.

5. I heard HPV is uncommon and so there is no need for HPV vaccination. Is this true?

The genital HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection and there are over 14 million new infections each year in the United States. 

5a. Tell me more about this issue.

HPV infection is so common that nearly every male and female will be infected with at least one type of HPV at least once in their lifetime. Currently, over 80 million Americans are infected.

5b. I heard children are not at risk of contracting HPV so they don’t need the vaccine. Is this true?

While a child may not be sexually active now, they likely will be at some point in their life. They may get HPV in their teenage or young adult years, and then develop cancer years later. So getting the vaccine on time can help protect children’s health now and later in life.

1. Are HPV vaccines safe?

The HPV vaccine is safe and doesn’t contribute to any serious health issues. Like any vaccine or medicine, the vaccine may cause mild reactions. The most common are pain or redness in the arm where the shot is given. Other typical side effects include low-grade fever, headache or feeling tired, nausea, or muscle or joint pain – all of which are temporary. Rarely, an allergic reaction can occur, and individuals should not get the vaccine if they are allergic to any of the components.

1a. Tell me more about the safety of the HPV vaccine.

The vaccine itself has been researched for many years (including at least 10 years of research before it could even be used in humans) and is highly monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. Vaccinations in the U.S. have never been safer because of the stringent standards the FDA uses.

1b. Are serious allergic reactions common?

On very rare occasions, a person may have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any vaccine, including HPV vaccines. In the United States, anaphylaxis following vaccination has a reported rate of 3 cases per 1 million doses administered. If a person has a severe allergic reaction, the healthcare professional giving the vaccine will be fully trained in how to deal with it. People recover completely with treatment, usually within a few hours.

2. Can HPV vaccination lead to infertility?

Claims of HPV vaccine-induced infertility due to premature ovarian failure are anecdotal and not backed by research or clinical trials. A recent study of over 200,000 women found no association between the HPV vaccine and premature ovarian failure.

2a. Tell me more about the infertility issue.

In fact, the HPV vaccine can actually help protect fertility by preventing gynecological problems related to the treatment of cervical cancer. It’s possible that the treatment of cervical cancer could leave a woman unable to have children. It’s also possible that treatment for cervical pre-cancer could put a woman at risk for problems with her cervix, which could cause preterm delivery or other complications.

2b. Can these studies be trusted?

The study cited previously is published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal which accepts rigorously conducted studies. It is among many studies that have not found a link between HPV vaccination and infertility. 

3. How effective are HPV vaccines?

In the studies that led to the approval of HPV vaccines, the vaccines provided nearly 100% protection against persistent cervical infections with HPV types 16 and 18, plus the pre-cancers that those persistent infections can cause.

3a. Tell me more about the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine.

A clinical trial of HPV vaccines in men indicated that they can prevent anal cell changes caused by persistent infection and genital warts.

3b. Can HPV vaccines cause cancer?

HPV vaccines cannot cause cancer. The vaccine does not contain any live or killed HPV virus. It is made from a single protein like the one the virus has on its outer coat. When you have the vaccine, your body makes antibodies which it uses to fight the real virus if you're ever exposed to it.

4. Can getting the HPV vaccine encourage adolescents to be sexually promiscuous?

No research links the HPV vaccine to increases in sexual activity. There is no evidence that giving the HPV vaccine is linked with higher sexual activity. In fact, a recent article reviewing studies of over 500,000 individuals revealed that there was no increase in sexual activity after HPV vaccination. 

4a. Tell me more about this issue.

Studies show that vaccinated participants actually engaged in safer sexual practices than unvaccinated participants! Also, adolescents who get the vaccine don't have more partners after they become sexually active.

4b. Young children don’t need the HPV vaccine because they are not sexually active. Is this true?

The best time for children to get the vaccine is before he or she becomes sexually active. This is because the vaccine works best before there is any chance of infection with HPV. When the vaccine is given at this time, it can prevent almost all infection by the types of HPV the vaccine guards against.

5. I heard HPV is uncommon and so there is no need for HPV vaccination. Is this true?

The genital HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection and there are over 14 million new infections each year in the United States. 

5a. Tell me more about this issue.

HPV infection is so common that nearly every male and female will be infected with at least one type of HPV at least once in their lifetime. Currently, over 80 million Americans are infected.

5b. I heard children are not at risk of contracting HPV so they don’t need the vaccine. Is this true?

While a child may not be sexually active now, they likely will be at some point in their life. They may get HPV in their teenage or young adult years, and then develop cancer years later. So getting the vaccine on time can help protect children’s health now and later in life.