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HPV vaccine

Having the HPV vaccine is important to prevent a range of cancers and genital warts. Getting the vaccine now protects you against future risks.

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HPV is a very common virus which usually has no symptoms. More than 70% of unvaccinated people will get it at some point in their life.

Most people who become infected with HPV clear the virus from their body, but others may develop a range of cancers in later life caused by the HPV virus.

HPV is usually spread through intimate sexual contact. Condoms don't provide complete protection. Some people may also develop genital warts, which can sometimes be difficult to treat.

HPV vaccine

Having the vaccine is important because we can't predict who'll develop cancer or genital warts. Getting the vaccine now protects you against future risks.

You can find more information on the vaccine and diseases at NHS 111 Wales - HPV vaccine (external site).


Eligibility for the vaccine

The HPV vaccine is offered to boys and girls who are aged 12 to 13 years (school year 8) and those individuals who may have missed their vaccination but still remain eligible up to the age of 25 (that is, boys who were in school year 8 on or after 1 September 2019 and girls who attained eligibility on or after 1 September 2008).

The HPV vaccine is available through specialist Sexual Health Services (SHS) and HIV clinics to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) who are up to and including 45 years of age.


About the HPV vaccine

The brand names of the vaccines used in the UK are Gardasil or Gardasil 9.

The HPV vaccination is normally given as an injection in the top of the arm. 

Two doses are currently advised to offer best protection.

Side effects of the HPV vaccine

Common side effects are a sore, swollen red area where the vaccination was given. Sometimes a small, painless hard lump may also form at the injection site. These side effects usually disappear after a couple of days.

Less common side effects include headaches, nausea, fever (high temperature).

Other more serious reactions are rare.

For more information on common and rare side effects see:  

If you are concerned about symptoms call NHS 111 Wales (external site). Calls to NHS 111 Wales are free from landlines and mobile phones.

You can report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme. You can do this online at or by calling the Yellow Card scheme hotline on 0800 731 6789 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).  


Information for the public

If you would like to learn more about the HPV vaccine or the diseases it protects against, a number of information resources are available to help. 

You can also call NHS 111 or your GP practice for advice if you have any questions.


To order leaflets, visit the Health Information Resources page.

  • HPV vaccination. Protecting against HPV infection to help reduce your risk of cancer DL leaflet November 2022 – Bilingual
  • HPV factsheet for health professionals, parents and young people - Bilingual

HPV vaccination accessible information

Large Print version

  • HPV vaccination. Protecting against HPV infection to help reduce your risk of cancer – Bilingual

Easy Read version

  • HPV vaccination. Protect yourself from cancers caused by HPV – English / Welsh

British Sign Language

HPV - your guide to the HPV vaccination leaflet for Wales - BSL video



More information

Cervical Screening Wales - About HPV

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust | Cervical Cancer Charity