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HPV Vaccine

Immunization Program

Room 30 (Basement Level), John H. Mulroy Civic Center
421 Montgomery Street, 
Syracuse, New York 13202
Phone 315.435.2074



What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancer and genital warts and is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus, even if they don’t have signs or symptoms. HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis and anus. HPV can also cause mouth and throat cancer. In the United States each year, about 37,000 people affected by HPV-related cancers.



HPV Vaccine

Are diseases caused by HPV preventable?

Yes! The HPV vaccine can prevent several types of cancer.



Who should be vaccinated?

The HPV vaccine series is recommended for all children starting at age 9. Children ages 9–12 years should get two doses of HPV vaccine, given 6 to 12 months apart.


Children who start the HPV vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses, given over 6 months.


Some adults ages 27 through 45 years who are at risk for new HPV infections and are not already vaccinated can choose to get HPV vaccine after speaking with their healthcare provider. People with weakened immune systems and men who have sex with men are recommended to receive the vaccine.  



Why is the HPV vaccine recommended for children of all genders?

The HPV vaccine is recommended for children of all genders to prevent cancer and reduce the spread of HPV viruses.



Why does my 9 year old need an HPV vaccine now?

HPV vaccines offer the best protection to children who receive the full series of two doses of the vaccine before they begin engaging in sexual activity. In addition, the protection gained from this vaccine is better in pre-teens than it is for older children, so getting the vaccine now means your child is better protected.



How are the HPV vaccines given?

All kids who are 9-12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine six to twelve months apart. Adolescents who receive their two shots less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine.


If your teen hasn't gotten the HPV vaccine yet, talk to their healthcare provider about getting it for them as soon as possible. If your child is older than 14 years, three shots will need to be given over 6 months. Also, three doses are still recommended for people who are immunocompromised.



What should be expected after vaccination?

The most common side effects reported are mild and most resolve within a few days. They included pain where the shot was given (usually in the arm), fever, dizziness, and nausea.



Should I still get vaccinated if I may have already been exposed to HPV?

The vaccine protects against several types of HPV, so it is still beneficial to receive the vaccine. The HPV vaccine cannot protect against HPV that has already been acquired or treat existing HPV infections.



How effective is the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is very effective in preventing the targeted HPV types found in the vaccine. However, the vaccine is less effective in preventing HPV-related disease in young women who have already been exposed to one or more types of HPV. The HPV vaccine does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is still important for women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer with regular Pap and HPV tests.



How long does the HPV vaccination last?

The HPV vaccine works extremely well and the protection is long lasting. Since HPV vaccination was introduced in the U.S. in 2006, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 88 percent among teen girls (according to the CDC). It is only recommended to complete one vaccine series.



Where can I or my child get the HPV vaccine?

Check with your healthcare provider about getting a vaccine for yourself or your child.


The Onondaga County Immunization Clinic can provide the HPV vaccine to children under 19 years of age if they have Medicaid or do not have insurance. Learn more about our Immunization Clinic.

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