Who the HPV vaccine is for and when it's given
The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is offered at school to all Year 8 girls (aged 12 to 13). The vaccine works best when it's given at this age.
The vaccine is given by school nurses in the upper arm. To provide long term protection, a course of two injections is needed, given six months apart.
The first injection is given during the first school term (usually September / October). The second injection is given six months later (usually in March / April).
Human papilloma virus (HPV) and what it does
HPV is a common virus that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.
As much as half the population will be infected with HPV at some time in their life. If
your immune system doesn't clear the infection, it can lead to the growth of pre-cancerous cells in your cervix. If they aren't treated, it can develop into cervical cancer in some women.
What the HPV vaccine does
Girls who have the HPV vaccine reduce their risk of getting cervical cancer by over 70%. The
HPV vaccine protects against:
More information about the
HPV vaccine is available on the NHS Choices website.
We use the Gardasil brand of the vaccine, the same as the UK.
The vaccine had extensive studies and clinical trials before it was licensed for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and continues to be monitored.
Tens of millions of doses have been given around the world and it's safety is well established. You can find out more about the
HPV vaccine safety on NHS Choices website.
Side effects of the vaccination
As with all vaccinations, it's not uncommon to experience mild soreness in the arm which wears off within a day or two. More serious side effects are extremely rare.
More information about
side effects is available on the NHS Choices website.
Cervical screening (smear tests)
The HPV vaccine doesn't protect against all types of HPV.
It's important you still attend for cervical screening (smear tests) when you reach age 25.