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HPV Vaccine for Adults

When Should Adults Get the HPV Vaccine?

The CDC recommends that all women age 26 years and younger receive three doses of the HPV vaccine. The CDC recommends that all men age 21 years and younger receive three doses of the HPV vaccine. It is an option for all men, but is recommended for men who have sex with men or who have a compromised immune system (including HIV) to receive the HPV vaccine through age 26, if not received earlier.

CDC guidelines recommend the three doses of the HPV vaccine should be given as follows:

  • First dose: ideally at ages 11 or 12
  • Second dose: one to two months after the first dose
  • Third dose: six months after the first dose

Some adults may have received doses of the HPV vaccine in childhood or adolescence. All three doses should be given to get the most protection from HPV infection. Re-vaccination in adulthood is recommended if the vaccination schedule was not completed.

Are There Any Adults Who Should Not Receive the HPV Vaccine?

Certain people should not get the HPV vaccine or should wait before getting it:

  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine
  • Anyone who has had a previous life-threatening allergic reaction to an ingredient in the HPV vaccine
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone with a moderate or severe illness; people who feel mildly ill may still receive the HPV vaccine.

The HPV vaccine is not known to be harmful to pregnant women or their babies. However, until more information is known, pregnant women are advised not to receive the HPV vaccine. Women who are breastfeeding can safely receive the HPV vaccine.

The HPV vaccine's safety and effectiveness have not yet been studied in adults older than age 26. Until that information is available, the HPV vaccine is not recommended for adults older than 26.

What Are the HPV Vaccine Ingredients?

The HPV vaccine contains no viruses and is not made from human papillomavirus. The active ingredients in the HPV vaccine are proteins that are similar to those found in the human papillomavirus. Genetically modified bacteria produce the proteins, which are then purified and mixed into a sterile, water-based solution.

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