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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine - Information for health professionals

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There are approximately 100 types of the Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a double stranded DNA virus that infects squamous epithelia including the skin and mucosae of the upper respiratory and anogenital tracts. Although most infections are asymptomatic and self-limiting, genital infection by HPV is associated with genital warts and anogenital cancers in both men and women. HPV viruses are classified as either ‘high-risk’ or ‘low-risk’ types depending on their association with the development of cancer.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for:

  • All adolescents (boys and girls) in school Years 8 and 9 (usually aged 12 to 14) (Males and females in cohorts eligible for vaccination in the national programme remain so until their 25th birthday- see green book for details)
  • MSM up to and including 45 years of age attending Specialist Sexual Health Services and/or HIV clinics regardless of risk, sexual behaviour or disease status

Gardasil is licensed for use from 9 years of age and it is the vaccine that has been used in the NHS since 2012. Gardasil provides protection against 4 HPV types: 16 and 18, 2 high risk HPV types that can lead to cancer; and 6 and 11, the 2 HPV types that cause approximately 90% of all anogenital warts in males and females.

During the 2021 to 2022 academic year, Gardasil 9 was introduced into the programme and will soon be the main HPV vaccine used.

Gardasil 9 provides protection against HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) It offers protection against 5 additional types of HPV (31, 33, 45, 52, 58) which, although less common than types 16 and 18, are also considered high-risk. Gardasil 9 is expected to prevent the majority of cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers and premalignant lesions, as well as genital warts associated with HPV. This vaccine is being rolled out in 2022.

Summary of product characteristics

The Complete Routine Immunisation Schedule (PDF) includes information about routine and non-routine vaccinations.



Vaccination programme recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and Welsh Government policy can be found at the links below.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation - GOV.UK (read JCVI publications and statements; search e.g. HPV)

Welsh Health Circulars and Welsh Government letters

Changes to the vaccine for the HPV immunisation programme (WHC/2022/023) September 2022

Changing to a two-dose NHS Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination schedule for eligible adolescents and adults starting the course after they turn 15 years old, including men who have sex with men (MSM) (2022)

JCVI interim advice on a one-dose schedule for the human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme February 2022

HPV vaccine for adolescent boys (2018)

HPV vaccination for men who have sex with men (2017)

Chief Nursing Officer letter to Local Authority Directors of Education & School Governor Officers ( February 2021 

Joint CMO/Chief Nursing Officer/ Director Education Directorate letter to headteachers - Maintaining school-based vaccination programmes during COVID-19 (2020)


Training resources and events

Online courses and training materials about a number of vaccines and diseases can be accessed via the E-learning page.

Further immunisation training information and resources are provided on the Training Resources and Events page.


Clinical resources and information

Patient group directions (PGDs) and protocols

PGD templates for the HPV vaccine can be found on the Patient group directions (PGDs) and protocols page.

Further clinical resources and information


Other resources

Cervical Screening Wales is responsible for the NHS cervical screening programme in Wales.

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

Data and surveillance