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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 do not 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

Less than 1 in 1,000 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 and boys 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.

If you have any other symptoms, talk to the person who gave you your vaccination, a pharmacist, your doctor or a nurse.

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 an anaphylactic reaction, immediately after HPV vaccination.

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.

Find out more about HPV vaccine safety

Page last reviewed: 31 October 2017
Next review due: 31 October 2020