Answering Parents’ Questions about HPV Vaccine

Doctor talking to a patient.

Most parents will accept HPV vaccination when you effectively recommend the vaccine and address their questions.

Recommend HPV vaccination in the same way and on the same day you recommend other vaccines for adolescents.

You can say, “Now that your son is 11, he is due for vaccinations today to help protect him from meningitis, HPV cancers, and whooping cough.  Do you have any questions?”

Remind parents of the follow-up shots their child will need and ask them to make appointments before they leave.

chat icon Why does my child need the HPV Vaccine?
  • HPV vaccine is important because it prevents infections that can cause cancer. That’s why we need to start the shot series today.
chat iconWhat diseases are caused by HPV?
  • Some HPV infections can cause cancer—like cancer of the cervix or in the back of the throat—but we can protect your child from these cancers in the future by getting the first HPV shot today.
chat iconHow do you know the vaccine works?
  • Studies continue to prove HPV vaccination works extremely well, decreasing the number of infections and HPV precancers in young people since it has been available.
chat iconIs my child really at risk for HPV?
  • HPV is a very common infection in women and men that can cause cancer. Starting the vaccine series today will help protect your child from the cancers and diseases caused by HPV.
chat iconWhy do they need HPV vaccine at such a young age?
  • Vaccines protect your child before they are exposed to a disease. That’s why we give the HPV vaccine earlier rather than later, to protect them long before they are ever exposed.
    Also, if your child gets the shot now, they will only need two doses. If you wait until your child is older, he/she may end up needing three shots.
chat iconI’m worried my child will think that getting this vaccine makes it OK to have sex.
  • Studies tell us that getting HPV vaccine doesn’t make kids more likely to start having sex. I made sure my child (or grandchild, etc.) got HPV vaccine, and I recommend we give your child her first HPV shot today.
chat iconWhy do boys need the HPV vaccine?
  • HPV vaccination can help prevent future infections that can lead to cancers of the penis, anus, and back of the throat in men.
chat iconIs the HPV vaccine safe?
  • Yes, HPV vaccination is very safe. Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects, including pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given. That’s normal for HPV vaccine too and should go away in a day or two. Sometimes kids faint after they get shots and they could be injured if they fall from fainting. We’ll have your child stay seated after the shot to help protect him/her.
chat iconWould you get HPV vaccine for your kids?
  • Yes, I gave HPV vaccine to my child (or grandchild, etc.) when he was 11, because I wanted to help protect him from cancer in the future.
chat iconCan HPV vaccine cause infertility in my child?
  • There is no evidence to suggest that getting HPV vaccine will have an effect on future fertility. However, women who develop an HPV precancer or cancer could require treatment that would limit their ability to have children.
Talking to Parents about Vaccines Handout
Talk to Parents about HPV Vaccine
Use this printable handout to train staff on how to address parents’ questions about vaccines for children and adolescents.
#HowIRecommend Videos
Videos about recommending HPV cancer prevention.
Watch CDC’s video series to get advice from your peers on how to address parents’ questions.