Who should have the HPV vaccine?

From the age of 12 up until their 18th birthday, all girls can get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine free on the NHS. The vaccine helps to protect against cervical cancer, the most common cancer in women under 35 in the UK.

In England, girls aged 12 to 13 are routinely offered the first HPV vaccination when they are in Year 8 at school. The second dose is usually offered 6 to 12 months after the first.

The vaccine is effective at stopping girls from getting the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. It's important to have both doses to be properly protected.

Which girls should not be vaccinated?

The HPV vaccine should not be given to girls who:

Which girls should delay vaccination?

HPV vaccination should be delayed for girls who are unwell and have a high temperature, or are feeling hot and shivery.

This is to avoid confusing the symptoms of the illness with the response to the vaccine. There's no reason to delay vaccination for a mild illness, such as the common cold.

Girls who miss either of their HPV vaccine doses should speak to their school immunisation team or their GP surgery to make an appointment to get up to date as soon as possible.

Older girls and the HPV vaccine

If the first dose of HPV vaccine has not been given by the time a girl is 15, she will need three doses to be fully protected – having two doses is not as effective for older girls.

Speak to the school immunisation team or your GP surgery about making an appointment as soon as possible.

Read about the HPV vaccination for men and boys.

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