Vaccinations

HPV vaccine side effects

Very common side effects of the HPV vaccine

More than 1 in 10 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:

  • redness, swelling or pain at the site of the injection – the most common side effect, but it should wear off within a couple of days
  • headaches – but these don't usually last very long

Common side effects

More than 1 in 100 people, but less than 1 in 10, who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:

  • bruising or itching at the site of the injection
  • a high temperature or feeling hot and shivery 
  • feeling sick (nausea) 
  • pain in the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet or toes

Rare side effects

Around 1 in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:

Very rare side effects

Less than 1 in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:

Other side effects

Some people may feel dizzy or faint after vaccination. In the school-delivered vaccination programme, girls are asked to sit or lie down for the injection and for about 15 minutes afterwards to help reduce the chance of them fainting or hurting themselves falling over.

People have reported other side effects, but because these come from people reporting side effects themselves rather than from controlled clinical tests, it's not possible to say how often they happen or to how many people.

Other side effects that have been reported include:

  • bruising or bleeding more easily 
  • chills, weakness, tiredness or general feeling unwell
  • swollen glands
  • pain or tenderness in the joints or muscles
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • fits (seizures)

Most of the symptoms are reported after any kind of vaccination. But if you have any of these, or other symptoms, you should talk to the person who gave you your vaccination, a pharmacist, your doctor or a nurse.

If you feel very ill, get medical help straight away.

Reporting side effects

You can also report any side effects you think may be linked to the HPV vaccination using the Yellow Card Scheme, which is run by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect.

Allergic reactions

Very rarely, some people may have a more severe allergic reaction, called anaphylactic reaction, immediately after HPV vaccination.

Signs of an anaphylactic reaction include:

If a person has a severe allergic reaction, the healthcare professional giving the vaccine will be fully trained in how to deal with it.

People recover completely with treatment, usually within a few hours.

An anaphylactic reaction can also be caused by other things, such as bee stings and food allergies.

If you're with someone and they start to experience the symptoms of anaphylaxis, dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance.

Read more about HPV vaccine safety.

Page last reviewed: 31/10/2017
Next review due: 31/10/2020