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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

What is HPV?

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is transmitted person to person by having oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the virus. Anyone can get HPV, 7 out of 10 sexually active people will become infected in their lifetime. There are many different types of HPV. Some types cause serious health problems and are associated with genital warts and cancer of the cervix, genitals, mouth and throat. Fortunately, the most common types of HPV infection can be prevented with HPV vaccine.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

  • Males and Females age 9 to 26. It provides the best protection if given before becoming sexually active.
  • The provincial government fully funds HPV vaccine to all students in Grade 7, and students can receive the vaccine free of charge until the end of Grade 12.
  • Men who have sex with men can receive the vaccine free of charge up to age 26.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?
  • Anyone with a fever or an infection worse than a cold.
  • Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past.
  • Anyone with an allergy to any component of the vaccine. Ask for a complete list of ingredients.
  • People with a bleeding disorder should talk to a health care provider before vaccination.
  • Anyone who might be pregnant.
How is the vaccine given?
  • By injection (a needle) into the muscle of the upper arm.
  • Depending on your age, you will get 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine.
  • If healthy and under age 15, two doses are given 6 months apart.
  • Those who receive their 1st dose after the age 15 years, or who have a weakened immune system will be given a series of 3 injections over a 6 month period.
What are the side effects?
  • Pain, swelling, redness, itchiness, and possibly a lump where the shot was given.
  • Fever, headache, nausea that go away on their own.
  • Some people faint after getting needles. This is often because they are nervous before getting the needle.
  • Allergic reactions such as hives, wheezing, or swelling of the face and mouth are extremely rare. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.
For more information please call the Northwestern Health Unit Office in your area.

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