HPV Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all children between 11 and 12 years old get vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (HPV). Gardasil 9 is the only HPV vaccine available in the U.S. Controversy still exists over the vaccine’s safety. Serious side effects include autoimmune disorders and death.

Gardasil Vaccine Box
HPV Vaccine Facts
  1. Uses Prevent human papilloma virus and related cancers
  2. Side Effects Injections site redness, headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, allergic reactions, dizziness, fainting, Guillain-Barré syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), autoimmune disorders, transverse myelitis, death
  3. Manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline (Cervarix), Merck (Gardasil and Gardasil 9)

The HPV vaccine prevents people from getting the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. If untreated, HPV may lead to cancer and other diseases.

About 80 million Americans have some type of HPV. Nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved three HPV vaccines: Gardasil (2006), Cervarix (2009) and Gardasil 9 (2014).

As of May 2017, Gardasil 9 became the only HPV vaccine in the U.S. The FDA approved it for people ages 9 to 26.

The CDC said that the vaccine may prevent as many as 30,000 HPV-related cancers.

But, the vaccine is not without side effects. Some people who say the vaccine injured them filed claims with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

How Does the HPV Vaccine Work?

Like other vaccines, the HPV vaccine works by helping the body to produce antibodies to fight infection. Health care providers usually give people a shot in the arm. People need two to three shots for the vaccine to be effective.

The shot contains virus-like particles (VLPs) that mimic the HPV virus. The body learns to fight the real virus after exposure to VLPs.

The vaccine does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases. There is no evidence to show the vaccine is not safe for pregnant women.

The vaccine prevents infection with HPV types that are associated with:
  • Cervical cancer in females
  • Vaginal and vulvar cancers in females
  • Anal cancer in females and males
  • Throat cancer in females and males
  • Penile cancer in males
  • Genital warts

Gardasil Vaccine

microscopic 3d view of HPV virus
3D view of the HPV Virus

Gardasil was the first HPV vaccine approved for use in the U.S. The vaccine manufactured by Merck gained FDA approval on June 8, 2006.

Gardasil only protected against diseases caused by HPV Types 6, 11, 16 and 18. It is no longer available in the U.S.

Merck began selling Gardasil 9 in 2014. The FDA approved it for girls ages 9 to 26 and boys ages 9 to 15.

In December 2015, the FDA extended its approval to allow males through age 26 to get the vaccine. The vaccine protects against diseases caused by nine HPV types: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.

HPV Vaccine for Men and Boys

Currently, more girls and women get the vaccine because of the emphasis on cervical cancer prevention.

Men and boys cannot get cervical cancer, but men’s health is still at risk because they can get HPV.

HPV can cause genital warts, oral cancer, anal cancer and other genital cancers in men.

HPV and Men
HPV causes 89 percent of anal and rectal cancer cases in men.

The CDC recommends men and boys ages 9 to 26 get vaccinated. The vaccine schedule is the same for boys as it is for girls.

HPV Vaccine Side Effects

Common HPV vaccine side effects include nausea, headaches, redness at the injection site or fainting.

“HPV vaccination is typically not associated with any serious side effects,” the CDC said on its website. “The benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh any potential risk of side effects.”

But the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has received 146,868 reports of adverse events after the HPV vaccine since 2006. These include 168 deaths. VAERS notes that a major limitation with its data is that VAERS cannot determine for sure if the adverse event was caused by the vaccine.

Dr. Diane Harper worked on studies to get Gardasil approved. She warned that the vaccine is not as safe as people think.

“Parents and women must know that deaths occurred,” Harper told CBS News. “Gardasil has been associated with at least as many serious adverse events as there are deaths from cervical cancer developing each year.”

Serious side effects in VAERS include:
  • Allergic reactions (rashes, hives, difficulty breathing)
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, or GBS (nerve damage and paralysis)
  • Transverse myelitis (spinal cord inflammation, nerve damage)
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Death
  • Amenorrhea (loss of period)
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS (autoimmune disease marked by rapid, irregular heartbeat)
  • Blood clots
Were you injured after receiving a HPV vaccine? Get a Free Case Review

When Do Side Effects Occur?

Some common side effects such as fainting, injection site redness, arm soreness or headaches may occur immediately after receiving the vaccine. These usually go away after a few days.

Serious side effects such as autoimmune diseases may occur after a day or longer. These may be long-term side effects. For example, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) or transverse myelitis may cause permanent nerve damage.

HPV Vaccine Schedule

The CDC recommends children and adolescents ages 9 to 26 years old receive the HPV vaccination. Depending on age, a person may receive two or three doses.

Ages 9 to 14 Years (Two Dosing Schedule)
  1. First shot - On a date of the patient’s and doctor’s choosing
  2. Second shot - Six to 12 months after first shot
Ages 15 to 26 Years (Three Dosing Schedule)
  1. First shot - On a date of the patient’s and doctor’s choosing
  2. Second shot - Two months after first shot
  3. Third shot - Six months after first shot

Paying for the HPV Vaccine

Health insurance covers the HPV vaccine because the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends it.

Children ages 18 or younger may qualify for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program if they are American Indian or Alaska Native.

Children who are uninsured, underinsured or Medicaid-eligible may also qualify.

HPV Vaccine Injury Claims

Hundreds of people who say the HPV vaccine injured them have filed claims with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). VICP is a government system that may provide financial compensation to people who file vaccine-related injury or death petitions.

As of June 2018, the VICP paid out or settled 126 HPV vaccine claims. A total of 49 people received $5.8 million after the U.S. Court of Federal Claims found Gardasil injured them.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

Michelle Llamas, Senior Content Writer
Written By Michelle Llamas Senior Writer

Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for seven years. She specializes in fluoroquinolone antibiotics, vaccines and products that affect women’s health such as Essure birth control, transvaginal mesh and talcum powder. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:

  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine
Edited By
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. John A. Daller
Dr. John A. Daller American Board of Surgery

10 Cited Research Articles

  1. FDA. (2009, August 20). Gardasil Vaccine Safety. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/ucm179549.htm
  2. CDC. (2018, May 11). HPV Vaccines: Vaccinating Your Preteen or Teen. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html
  3. CDC. (2015, September 30). HPV Vaccine Safety. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccinesafety.html
  4. Lampen, C. (2018, March 29). HPV Is Putting Men at Risk of Cancer. So Why Aren't They Getting the Vaccine? Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19625320/hpv-vaccine-for-men-sti-cancer-risk/
  5. CDC. (2017, September 20). How Many Cancers Are Linked with HPV Each Year? Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/statistics/cases.htm
  6. VAERS. (2018). VAERS data. Retrieved from https://vaers.hhs.gov/data.html
  7. Attkisson, S. (2009, August 19). Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gardasil-researcher-speaks-out/
  8. National Cancer Institute. (2018, May 16). Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/infectious-agents/hpv-vaccine-fact-sheet
  9. Health Resources & Services Administration. (2018, June 4). Data & Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/vaccine-compensation/data/monthly-stats-june-2018.pdf
  10. Ojha, R.P. (2014). Guillain-Barre syndrome following quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination among vaccine-eligible individuals in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24013368
View All Sources
Who Am I Calling?

Calling this number connects you with Wilson and Peterson, LLP or one of its trusted legal partners. A law firm representative will review your case for free.

Wilson and Peterson, LLP funds Drugwatch because it supports the organization’s mission to keep people safe from dangerous drugs and medical devices.

(877) 915-9306