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Immunization

Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV-9)

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​​​​​​​​​Immunization protects you from disease.
​​Get protected, get immunized.

  • Vaccines make your immune system stronger by building antibodies, which help prevent diseases.
  • Immunization is safe. It is much safer to get immunized than to get this disease.​

Who should have HPV-9 vaccine?

This vaccine is given to Grade 6 students. Students who missed getting humanpapillomavirus vaccine at this time, are eligible for free HPV-9 vaccine until the end of Grade 12.

Some adults 26 years of age and younger with certain health conditions or lifestyles may be offered the vaccine.

Some adults who have not had human papillomavirus vaccine may benefit from this vaccine, but it is not free. Talk to your doctor, to find out if it is a good idea for you. Check with your health insurance provider as some plans may cover it.

How many doses of this vaccine are needed?

Students with a healthy immune system who start the vaccine series before 15 years of age need 2 doses given 6 months apart.

People starting the series at 15 years of age or older and anyone with a weakened immune system need 3 doses. The doses are given over 6 months.

How well does the vaccine work?

After the recommended number of doses are given, HPV-9 vaccine is up to 99% effective in preventing HPV related disease from the 9 strains in the vaccine. These 9 strains cause up to:

  • 95% of cervical cancers
  • 97% of anal cancers
  • 57% of penile cancers
  • 85% of vaginal cancers
  • 25% of head and neck cancers
  • 90% of genital warts

The 9 strains of human papillomavirus cause most, but not all cervical cancers. Females still need to have regular Pap tests once they start having sexual contact even if they have had the vaccine.

HPV-9 vaccine works best in children and teens before they have any sexual contact (e.g., oral sex, intercourse).

Where can I get the vaccine?

HPV-9 vaccine is offered in school to Grade 6 students. It is also offered in school to students in Grades 7 to 9 who missed getting it at the usual time. Information about the disease and the vaccine will be sent to the parent or guardian. If you want your child to get the vaccine, you must fill out the consent form and return it to the school.

Anyone who qualifies for free vaccine can contact the public health office in their area.

Adults who want the vaccine and need to pay for it should contact a travel health clinic (e.g., AHS Travel Health Services​), or speak to their doctor or pharmacist.

Are there side effects from HPV-9 vaccine?

Reactions to the vaccine are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • redness, swelling, bruising, and discomfort where the needle was given
  • headache or dizziness
  • fever
  • feeling tired or having body aches
  • nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea
  • sore throat

It is important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after immunization because people can have a rare but serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). If anaphylaxis happens, you will be given medicine to treat the symptoms.

Unusual reactions can happen. Call Health Link at 811 to report any unusual reactions.

How can I manage side effects?

  • To help with discomfort and swelling, put a cool, wet cloth over the area.
  • If you need fever or pain medicine, check with your pharmacist or doctor. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 19 years old because it can cause serious health problems.
  • Some people with health problems (e.g., weak immune system) must call their doctor whenever they get a fever. If you have been told to do this, call your doctor—even if you think the fever was due to immunization.

Is there anyone who cannot have HPV-9 vaccine?

You may not be able to have the vaccine if you:

  • have an allergy to parts of the vaccine—always tell your healthcare provider about allergies.
  • had a severe or unusual reaction after this vaccine (or a similar one)—always tell your healthcare provider if you have had reactions.
  • are pregnant.

You can be immunized if you have a mild illness (e.g., cold), even if you have a fever.

You need to get all the recommended doses of HPV vaccine before you try to get pregnant.

For More Information

Quick Facts: Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

What it is

  • virus that causes skin and genital warts
  • often, HPV infection will go away on its own. Some people get a long-term infection which can lead to cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, mouth, and throat
  • HPV causes almost all cervical cancer

Who is most at risk

  • anyone can get HPV, even if they have had only 1 sexual partner. It is very common and without immunization about 3 out of 4 people would get infected
  • the risk is higher for people with a weak immune system and people with lifestyle risks (e.g., many sexual partners, tobacco or cannabis use, etc.)

How it spreads

  • spread by sexual contact or skin-to-skin contact in the genital area
  • can spread to a baby during childbirth if the mother is infected
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Current as of: July 11, 2018

Author: Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services