Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
The HPV vaccine protects you against human papillomavirus infection. HPV infection can cause genital warts and cancers of the head, throat, genitals, anus and cervix and is mainly transmitted through sexual contact.
It is important for women to continue to have their regular Cervical Screening Test even if they have been vaccinated.
Gardasil 9 offers protection to males and females against nine HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) providing protection against disease from HPV infection. The optimal age to receive this vaccine is 12-13 years of age.
In 2023, Gardasil 9 vaccine is free for students in years 7 and 8 as part of the School Immunisation Program (SIP).
From 6 February 2023, the schedule for HPV changed from 2 doses to a single dose for most people. Students who are immunocompromised may require 3 doses, see the Medical at risk immunisation recommendations page and the Australian Immunisation Handbook for further information on these recommendations.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has made this recommendation based on international scientific and clinical evidence which has shown the efficacy of a single dose to be comparable to that of a 2 dose schedule, and recommendations by the World Health Organization. For more information, see the HPV vaccine fact sheet outlining these changes.
A catch-up program is available for people less than 26 years of age who have missed their HPV vaccine, enabling them to access a free vaccine.
People less than 26 years of age who have received one dose of a HPV vaccine are considered up to date.
The Gardasil 9 (HPV) vaccine is registered for use in:
- females aged 9 to 45 years of age
- males aged 9 to 26 years of age.
Men who have sex with men and people who are immunocompromised are at higher risk of contracting HPV infection, and are therefore also recommended to receive the HPV vaccine.
How the vaccine is given
The HPV vaccine is given as an injection into the top muscle of the upper arm.
Possible side effects
Like any medications, the HPV vaccine can have some minor and short lasting side effects.
Common side effects may include:
- mild to moderate pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- a mild fever of 37-38 degrees Celsius
- feeling tired
- mild headaches
Very rarely, you may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.
If you are concerned, seek further advice from your doctor, immunisation provider, SA Health’s Immunisation Section or healthdirect Australia.
Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to SA Health.
Reducing the side effects
Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:
- drinking extra fluids
- taking paracetamol.
Where to get immunised
To receive the vaccine, please contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal Health Centre to arrange an appointment.
For further information on immunisation providers, see the Immunisation services page.
Where can I find immunisation records?
Not sure if you or your child has had all required doses of the vaccine? Check your immunisation history and talk to your doctor about catching up if needed.
You can get your immunisation history through a few ways:
- straight away using your Medicare online account through myGov.
- using the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
- by calling Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809.
If you are not sure if your immunisations have been recorded, check with your immunisation provider.
Please note: you can get your child’s statement if they are under 14 years of age. Due to privacy laws, anyone aged 14 years or older has to get their own statement.