HPV vaccine restrictions

Gardasil, the HPV vaccine used in the childhood vaccination programme, can theoretically be given to children aged nine and over.

However, HPV vaccination is not routinely recommended for children until they reach the age of 12 or 13 (year eight of schools in England).

HPV vaccine and other medications

Before being vaccinated, tell your GP if you (or your child) are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including:

  • prescription medicines
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • other vaccinations

For example, the vaccine may not work effectively when used with medicines that suppress your child's immune system, such as steroid tablets.

Research shows that taking hormonal contraceptives, such as the Pill, does not appear to reduce the protection the vaccine provides.

Ongoing research on HPV vaccines

There are still aspects of the HPV vaccine that aren't clear. Research is continuing into areas including:

  • exactly how long the HPV vaccine provides protection for and whether girls should have further booster doses 
  • whether vaccination against specific types of HPV provides protection against other types not covered by the vaccination (cross-protection)
  • whether other types of HPV may take over as causes of cervical cancer
  • links between HPV infection and other cancers, such as anal cancer or head and neck cancers, which may be associated with anal or oral sex

Page last reviewed: 24/09/2014

Next review due: 24/09/2017


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Benefits and risks of vaccination

Find advice on the pros and cons of vaccination, plus specific information on side effects and allergic reaction