Can You Get the HPV Vaccine at Any Age?

HPV vaccination and vaccine
HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone over 26 years of age. However, adults between the ages of 27 and 45 years can discuss the benefits of the vaccine and the risk for new HPV infections with their doctor.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely recommends the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to children aged 11 to 12 years old, although it can be administered as early as nine years of age.

AICP further recommends the vaccine to all people through 26 years of age who were not adequately vaccinated earlier. In comparison, the HPV vaccine is not recommended for everyone older than 26 years. Nonetheless, adults between the ages of 27 and 45 years old may get vaccinated if they have not been previously vaccinated. However, before they get the shot, they must first discuss with their doctor the risks of new HPV infections and the possible benefits of the vaccination. This is because between 27 and 45 years of age, the HPV vaccination provides fewer benefits since more people are likely to have already been exposed to HPV.

How many shots of the HPV vaccine do you need?

There are two types of dosing schedules for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: two-dose schedule and three-dose schedule.

Two-dose schedule:

  • This HPV vaccine schedule is recommended for most individuals getting their first shot before turning 15 years of age.
  • It consists of two doses of HPV vaccine given 6 to 12 months apart.
  • If individuals received the second shot less than five months after the first one, they will also require the third dose of the HPV vaccine.

Three-dose schedule:

  • This HPV vaccine schedule is recommended for teens and young adults getting their first shot between 15 and 26 years of age.
  • Additionally, a three-dose schedule is recommended for individuals with low immunity (immunocompromised people such as those with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection) aged 9 through 26 years.
  • In a three-dose schedule:
    • The day on which the first shot is received is called day “0.”
    • The second dose is taken one to two months after the first dose.
    • The third dose is taken six months after the first dose.

Can pregnant women take the HPV vaccine?

Pregnant women should avoid getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. However, pregnancy testing is not needed before the HPV vaccination. The vaccine does not harm the expecting mother or developing fetus.

While no studies on the HPV vaccination in pregnant women have been reported during clinical trials, there is no need to be alarmed if you received the vaccine and later learned that you are pregnant. If the HPV vaccination was inadvertently started during pregnancy, further shots will be taken after the pregnancy is over.

Can the HPV vaccine treat a HPV infection?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine cannot treat an ongoing HPV infection. The vaccine, however, protects against other strains of HPV. If you are already infected with any of the strains of the virus, then you must contact your doctor for proper management of the infection.

Is the HPV vaccine safe?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is quite safe and effective as shown by over 12 years of monitoring and research. The benefits of the HPV vaccine, such as the prevention of certain types of cancer and precancerous conditions, far outweigh the risks.

Most side effects of the vaccine are mild and may include:

You may want to avoid the vaccine if you are allergic to latex because the tip cap of the bivalent vaccine may contain latex, which could trigger a fatal anaphylactic reaction.


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