Who should have the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is given in secondary schools to girls aged 12 to 13. In England, this age-group is typically in year eight.

Health conditions and HPV vaccination

Most girls are able to have the vaccine, but there are a few who need to take some precautions. Before the vaccination, tell your GP if your daughter has:

  • a condition that makes them bleed more than normal, such as thrombocytopenia; it may be possible to use a different type of injection 
  • a weakened immune system, as the vaccine may not be as effective

If these health conditions affect her, it doesn't necessarily mean that she cannot have the HPV vaccine, it simply means that extra care should be taken.

Other medications and the HPV vaccine

Before the vaccination, tell your GP if your daughter is taking, or has recently taken, any other medicines, including:

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

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

Which girls should not be vaccinated?

As with any medicine or vaccine, the HPV vaccine should not be used in girls who:

  • have had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction (severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine or any of its ingredients
  • are pregnant  

Which girls should delay vaccination?

The HPV vaccination should be postponed if your daughter has:

  • a severe illness with a high temperature (fever)

This is because symptoms of the illness may be confused with side effects from the vaccine, and this could result in the wrong diagnosis being made.

However, there is no reason to delay vaccination for a mild illness, such as the common cold

Older girls and the HPV vaccine

Girls who missed HPV vaccination first time around, can receive a catch up HPV vaccination on the NHS up to age of 18.

Girls who have the HPV vaccination after the age of 15 will need three doses, however, as the response to two doses is not so good in older girls. 

Page last reviewed: 24/09/2014

Next review due: 24/09/2017


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