Key Information about the HPV Vaccine
Who can get vaccinated: It is best to get vaccinated before you have sex for the first time as this means you are protected before you are first exposed to HPV. You will still benefit from the vaccine if you have had sex.
- Course: Depending on your age, you need 1 or 2 doses.
- Cost: Each dose of the HPV vaccine is £165. Save money by buying your full course up front! (£290 for a 2 dose course).
- Boosters: Boosters are not currently recommended.
- How it is given: Injection in the upper arm.
- Side effects: You may experience mild side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, headache or fever.
- Age restrictions: The HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) is suitable for children over the age of nine, and women and men up to the age of 45.
Additional precautions: Use a condom every time you have sex to reduce the chance of catching HPV as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Women should attend cervical screening (smear tests) regularly.
What is the HPV Vaccine
The HPV vaccine is offered to children between the ages of 12 and 13 as part of the NHS vaccination programme but it is also recommended for men and women up to and including the age of 45 in order to help protect them against these diseases. Anyone up until age 25 is eligible to receive the vaccine for free on the NHS.
The HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) protects against the HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58. Types 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts. Genital warts are benign growths which occur in the genital area. They are not dangerous but they need to be treated, and you can also pass them onto other sexual partners. Once you have been infected, you may remain contagious for life and the warts can recur at any point in life, especially if your immune system is weakened. Types 16 and 18 (and others) are the primary cause of cervical cancer in women and they are also associated with cancers of the vagina, throat, penis and anus.
HPV is an extremely common infection and over three quarters of sexually active women contract it at some point in their lives.
Who is this service for?
Dears Pharmacy offers a vaccination service for both women and men. Anyone up to and including the age of 45 can use this service, if they would like to start a course of the HPV vaccine or complete a course that was started at school. For men, the vaccination will help prevent against the most common cause of genital warts, and it also protects against some types of cancer.
Almost everyone can have the HPV vaccine. It is not suitable for pregnant women but it is suitable for breastfeeding women. We do not provide the vaccine to men and women over the age of 45.
You cannot have the vaccine if you are allergic to any of the ingredients:
- Sodium chloride
- Polysorbate 80
- Sodium borate
It is licensed for use in children from the age of 9.
How many doses of the HPV vaccine do I need?
The HPV vaccine consists of one or two doses, which are given by injection. The number of doses you require depends on your age.
Children, adolescents and adults under the age of 25 require one dose.
If you are 25 or older, you require two doses to be protected. The first dose of 0.5ml of HPV vaccine is followed by a second dose of 0.5ml of the HPV vaccine six to 24 months after the first dose.
How is the HPV vaccine given?
The HPV vaccine is given as an injection. The injections are given in the upper arm. Although the vaccine is usually tolerated well, redness and soreness at the injection site may occur.
What is HPV?
The human papilloma virus HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In many cases, infection does not cause any symptoms, but it can cause genital warts, and even lead to genital cancers, including cervical cancer (the second most common form of cancer in young women).
HPV is transmitted during sexual contact. The infection often clears by itself due to your body’s immune response. In some cases, however, the infection persists and remains unnoticed. In these cases, it could lead to cancerous lesions. HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer and infection with certain types of HPV greatly increases your risk of getting cervical cancer.
The use of condoms reduces your risk of contracting HPV. However, condoms are not 100% effective at preventing HPV infection as the virus can be present on the skin in the entire genital area.
Can I safely have sex without the HPV vaccine?
Condoms can help prevent you catching HPV from infected individuals during sex but they aren’t as reliable as getting vaccinated.
The British Journal of Cancer states that “Most HPV infections of the cervix are asymptomatic and more than 90% of detected infections are cleared within 2 years.”
We recommend you always practice safe sex even after the vaccine as it doesn’t protect against other sexual transmitted infections.
What about Cervical Screening (Smear Tests)?
Don’t forget you will still need to go for your Cervical Screening (smear test) even after vaccination. If you have any symptoms you are worried about, such as abnormal bleeding, we recommend you see a health professional as soon as possible.
Should men get the HPV vaccine?
HPV is associated with certain types of penile and throat cancer, as well as genital warts. The vaccine will lower your risk of developing these types of cancer while also protecting you from genital warts, a very common sexually transmitted disease. As with women, it is best to get vaccinated early on in life before you have been infected with any type of HPV. The NHS offers free vaccinations to all 12- and 13-year-olds in school Year 8. Those who missed their HPV vaccination in school Year 8 can continue to have the vaccine on the NHS up to their 25th birthday
What are the side effects of the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccination can cause temporary side effects in some patients. Possible side effects include headache, fever, nausea and dizziness. You may also notice some redness, swelling, itching, bruising or redness at the site of injection.
As with other vaccines, we may ask you to remain at the clinic for observation for 15 minutes after the injection has been administered.
Price: Each dose of the HPV vaccine is £165. Save money by buying your full course up front. (£290 for a 2 dose course.)
Frequency: When required, and available with no appointment necessary following a short consultation with the pharmacist.
Location: Find your nearest pharmacy
Leaflet: Page one
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