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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

Basic Page | Detailed Version

This basic web page is presented in plain language for people with general questions about HPV vaccine safety.

HPV is a common virus which can cause health problems, including several kinds of cancer. There are safe, effective, recommended vaccines that can prevent these health problems from happening. CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitor HPV vaccines to make sure they are safe.

While most kinds of HPV will clear up on their own, some types can cause health problems. HPV can cause anal cancer and mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer. It can also cause cancers of the cervix, vulva, and vagina in women and cancer of the penis in men. There are two HPV vaccines available (Gardasil® and Cervarix®) which protect against the types of HPV that can cause these cancers.

Some people have mild side effects after getting the HPV vaccine. These include:

  • Arm pain or redness where the vaccine was given
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Headache

Young woman smilingResearch from before and after the vaccines were licensed show that both vaccines are safe. As with all approved vaccines, CDC and the FDA closely monitor the safety of HPV vaccines after they are licensed. Any problems detected with these vaccines will be reported to health officials, health care providers, and the public.

For more information on HPV vaccine safety data, visit the Detailed page.

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