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Immunization

Human Papillomavirus (HPV-9) Vaccine

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

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

What is the HPV-9 vaccine?

The HPV-9 vaccine protects against 9 strains (types) of human papillomavirus. These 9 strains may cause up to:

  • 92% of cervical cancers
  • 75% of anal cancers
  • 57% of penile cancers
  • 72% of vaginal cancers
  • 25% of head and neck cancers
  • 90% of genital warts

Who should have the HPV-9 vaccine?

Grade 6 students get the HPV-9 vaccine in school. If you didn’t get the HPV-9 vaccine in Grade 6, you can still get it for free up to and including age 26 years.

If you can’t get this vaccine for free, you may still benefit from the vaccine. Talk to your doctor to find out if it’s a good idea for you. Check with your health insurance provider to see if your plan covers the cost.

How many doses do I need?

People with a healthy immune system who get their first dose before age 15 years need 2 doses, 6 months apart.

People who get their first dose at age 15 years or older and anyone with a weak immune system need 3 doses over 6 months.

How well does the vaccine work?

After you get the recommended number of doses, the protection for the 9 strains of HPV in the vaccine is up to 99%.

HPV-9 vaccine works best in children and teens before they have any sexual contact (such as oral sex or intercourse). Because the vaccine doesn’t protect against all types of cervical cancer, it’s still important to have regular Pap tests once you start having sexual contact, even if you’ve had the vaccine.

Where can I get the HPV-9 vaccine?

Grade 6 students can get the vaccine in school. Grade 7 to 9 students who missed getting the vaccine at the usual time can also get it in school.

Parents and guardians will get information about HPV and the vaccine. If you want your child to get the vaccine in school, you must fill out the consent form and return it to the school.

If you can get this vaccine for free, contact the public health office in your area. If you want the vaccine and need to pay for it, contact a travel health clinic (such as AHS Travel Health Services) or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Are there side effects from the HPV-9 vaccine?

There can be side effects from the HPV-9 vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:

  • redness, swelling, bruising, itching, or feeling sore where you had the needle
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • fever
  • feeling tired
  • body aches
  • feeling sick to your stomach (nausea), stomach pain, or loose stool (diarrhea)
  • sore throat

It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.

It’s rare to have a serious side effect. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.

How can I manage side effects?

  • To help with soreness and swelling, put a cool, wet cloth over the area where you had the needle.
  • There is medicine to help with fever or pain. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure what medicine or dosage to take. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Children under the age of 18 years should not take aspirin because it can cause serious health problems.
  • Some people with health problems, such as a weak immune system, must call their doctor if they get a fever. If you’ve been told to do this, call your doctor even if you think the fever is from the vaccine.

Who should not have the HPV-9 vaccine?

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

  • have an allergy to parts of the vaccine
  • had a severe or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it
  • are pregnant

Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.

You can still have the vaccine if you have a mild illness such as a cold or fever. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you’ve had a side effect to a vaccine in the past.

If you’re planning to get pregnant, you need to finish all the recommended doses of HPV-9 vaccine before you start trying to get pregnant.

Facts about human papillomavirus (HPV)

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

Who’s most at risk?
HPV is very common. Anyone can get it, even if they’ve had only 1 sexual partner. Without getting immunized, about 3 out of 4 people get infected. The risk of HPV is higher for people with:

  • a weak immune system
  • lifestyle risks (such as having many sexual partners or using tobacco or cannabis)

How does it spread?
HPV spreads by sexual contact or skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. It can also spread to a baby during vaginal childbirth if the mother is infected.

Go to the HPV page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more.

More information

Current as of: June 23, 2020

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services