HPV Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. The HPV vaccine is not new.

The HPV vaccine has been used in the UK since 2008 and more than 10 million doses have been given.

2. What is the HPV vaccine?

There are many types of human papillomavirus. This virus increases the risk of developing some cancers later in life, such as:

• cervical cancer
• some mouth and throat cancers
• some cancers of the anus and genital areas

There are many different types of HPV. Most HPV infections do not cause any symptoms and get better on their own. Some do not clear up and can lead to cancer.
The research is suggesting that in the UK there has been a dramatic reduction of women with cervical cancer, rates down by almost 90%.
More long-term research is looking into men and cancer rates.
Since the start of the vaccination programme in the UK there also has been a big decline in the number of young people with genital warts.
HPV vaccine is used in 84 countries including the USA, Australia, Canada, and most of Europe and more than 80 million people have received the vaccine worldwide.
Most young people are being vaccinated. Nearly 90% of parents choose to accept the HPV vaccine for their child.
Vaccination at a younger age is more effective at preventing HPV infection. So, the best time to be vaccinated is between 12 and 14 years.

3. Who is to be offered the vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is offered to all young people in year 8 and above. (Boys & Girls)

4. Having the vaccination will reduce your chance of HPV infection.

HPV infection is very common. More than 70% of unvaccinated people will get it.

5. Are there any side effects of the HPV vaccination?

Like most injections, the side effects of the HPV vaccination are quite mild. Stinging and soreness in the arm are common but wear off in a couple of days.
More serious side effects are extremely rare. The vaccine meets the rigorous safety standards required for it to be used in the UK and has an excellent safety profile.

6. What about giving consent?

You will probably want to share information about the vaccine with your child and discuss it together. The nurse will discuss the HPV vaccine with your child at the school session and will be able to answer any questions they may have.

7. I’ve heard you get a sore, swollen arm for a long time after the vaccination. Is that true?

The soreness and swelling you may get in your arm can last for a few hours, to a couple of days.

8. I missed my vaccination, can I still, have it?

Yes. If you missed either of your vaccinations, for whatever reason, you should speak to your school immunisation service on 0333 358 3397.

9. Will my daughter still need to have her smear tests?

Women who have had the vaccine will still need to go for cervical screening. All women aged 25 and over in England are offered cervical screening tests.
The vaccine will prevent around 70% of cervical cancer cases, but screening is still needed to pick up any other cervical abnormalities.