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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

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Every year in the United States, about 11,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 die from this disease. Most cases of cervical cancer and all cases of genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are two HPV vaccines available to protect against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. Both vaccines are usually given as 3 shot series. Clinical trials and monitoring data shows that both vaccines are very safe.

Currently, there are two licensed HPV vaccines in the United States:

  • Gardasil: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed this vaccine in 2006. The safety of Gardasil was studied in clinical trials before it was licensed with over 29,000 females and males. This vaccine protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18 and also some genital warts. Gardasil is recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls, and 13 through 26 year-old females. Additionally, Gardasil is recommended for boys and men, 9 through 26 year-old to protect against some genital warts. To learn more about Gardasil, visit FDA.
  • Cervarix: FDA licensed this vaccine in 2009. The safety of Cervarix was studied in clinical trials before it was licensed with over 30,000 females. This vaccine protects against HPV types 16 and 18. Cervarix is recommended for females 10 through 25 years of age. To learn more about Cervarix, visit FDA.

As with all vaccines used in the U.S., HPV vaccines were safety tested before licensing and are continually monitored for their safety and effectiveness.

HPV Vaccine Safety Studies

More on HPV Vaccine Safety

Related Scientific Articles

Slade BA, Leidel L, Vellozzi C, Woo EJ, Hua J, Sutherland A, Izurieta HS, Ball R, Miller N, Braun MM, Markowitz LE, Iskander J. Postlicensure safety surveillance for quadrivalent human papillomavirus recombinant vaccine. JAMA 2009 Aug 10;302(7):750-7.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ACIP. Quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine. [PDF - 444 KB] MMWR 2007 Mar 23; 56 rr2.

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