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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: What You Need to Know

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HPV vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

4. Some girls or women should not get HPV vaccine or should wait.

  • Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to yeast, to any other component of HPV vaccine, or to a previous dose of HPV vaccine should not get the vaccine. Tell your doctor if the person getting the vaccine has any severe allergies. 
  • Pregnant women should not get the vaccine. The vaccine appears to be safe for both the mother and the unborn baby, but it is still being studied. Receiving HPV vaccine when pregnant is not a reason to consider terminating the pregnancy.  Women who are breast feeding may safely get the vaccine.

Any woman who learns that she was pregnant when she got HPV vaccine is encouraged to call the HPV vaccine in pregnancy registry at 800-986-8999.

Information from this registry will help us learn how pregnant women respond to the vaccine.

  • People who are mildly ill when the shot is scheduled can still get HPV vaccine. People with moderate or severe illnesses should wait until they recover.

5. What are the risks from HPV vaccine?

HPV vaccine does not appear to cause any serious side effects.

However, a vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of any vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Several mild problems may occur with HPV vaccine:

  • Pain at the injection site (about eight people in 10) 
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site (about one person in four) 
  • Mild fever (100 F) (about one person in 10) 
  • Itching at the injection site (about one person in 30) 
  • Moderate fever (102 F) (about one person in 65)

These symptoms do not last long and go away on their own.

Life-threatening allergic reactions from vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it would be within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.

Like all vaccines, HPV vaccine will continue to be monitored for unusual or severe problems.

6. What if there is a severe reaction?

What should I look for?

  • Any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.

What should I do?

  • Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away. 
  • Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.  
  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to report the reaction by filing a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form.

Or you can file this report through the VAERS web site at www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 800-822-7967.

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