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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine


Vaccination is the best protection against infections caused by HPVs This link opens a new window. and their complications.

The Cervarix and Gardasil vaccines protect against infections caused by HPV 16 and 18 and their complications. These 2 types of HPV are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers as well as other cancers in the genital area such as cancers of the vagina, the vulva, the penis and the anus.

Gardasil also protects against infections from HPV 6 and 11, which cause anal and genital warts, i.e. condylomas. Condylomas are the most frequent sexually transmissible infections in Canada. When someone is infected by an HPV, he or she often does not know because the infection goes undetected.

More than one dose of the vaccine is required to obtain the best protection possible. Ideally, vaccination should be performed before the start of sexual activity.

The vaccine is indicated even for someone who has already contracted an HPV infection.

Vaccinated women should continue to follow the recommendations for testing for cervical cancer.


Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine, e.g. redness at the injection site. Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine, e.g. cold, gastro, headache.

HPV vaccine is safe. Most reactions are harmless and do not last long.

The Nature and Frequency of Known Reactions to Vaccine

Frequency Possible reactions to the vaccine

In most cases
(more than 50% of people)

  • Pain at the injection site

Very often
(less than 50% of people)

  • Redness or swelling at the injection site

(less than 10% of people)

  • Itching at the injection site, fever, discomfort, joint pain

What to do After Vaccination

Tips to follow immediately following vaccination

Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.

If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.

Tips to follow at home

If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.

Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.

When to Seek Medical Help

See a doctor if one of the following applies to you:

  • You experience serious and unusual symptoms
  • Your symptoms get worse instead of improving
  • Your symptoms last over 48 hours

Last update: June 25, 2015 10:51 AM

The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 8-1-1 or see a health professional.

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