HPV Vaccine Facts

Gardasil HPV vaccine is safe and effective and will prevent girls from developing cervical cancer in the future.

hpv seven out of ten

Many parents are reading and hearing lots of scare stories about HPV vaccine.

Please read the facts below or download facts about HPV vaccine (375KB)

  1. Every year in Ireland

  1. Gardasil HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer.  In Australia, Gardasil HPV vaccine has prevented 1 in every 2 cervical cancers

  2. Gardasil HPV vaccine  works best when given  before the age of 15 years

  3. Gardasil HPV vaccine is recommended bythe World Health Organization and is used in over 25 European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

  4. Over 100 million people have been vaccinated with Gardasil HPV vaccine worldwide including over 220,000 girls in Ireland

  5. The side effects of Gardasil HPV vaccine are mild and short lasting

  6. There are no long term side effects after Gardasil HPV vaccine

  7. Gardasil HPV vaccine does not cause any serious long term condition including chronic fatigue syndrome and automimmune diseases

  8. Gardasil HPV vaccine does not cause premature ovarian failure

  9. Protection from Gardasil HPV vaccine is long lasting



The best way to prevent cervical cancer is by HPV vaccination and cervical screening.

Every year in Ireland over 6,500 women need hospital treatment for a precancerous growth and over 280 (many young) women need treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy) for invasive cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer screening detects pre cancer or cancer of the cervix.

Gardasil HPV vaccine prevents precancerous growths and cancer developing.

Gardasil HPV vaccine provides protection against HPV types that cause 70% of precancerous growths and cancer.

Cervical screening is still needed to detect pre cancer or cancer of the cervix caused by HPV types not in the vaccine.

WHO fact sheet on Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs380/en/  

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Gardasil HPV vaccine prevents cancer developing.

Some HPV infections caused by high risk HPV types can progress to pre cancerous growths and some of these can progress to cervical cancer.

Gardasil HPV vaccine has been scientifically proven to prevent the HPV infection that causes 7 out of 10 cervical cancers.

In countries with high HPV vaccine uptake such as Australia and Scotland precancerous growths of the cervix have been reduced by more than half.

On August 29th 2016, Australian Professor Ian Frazer stated that after ten years of Gardasil HPV vaccine use “the number of new cases of cervical cancer in women has halved” in Australia


Impact and Effectiveness of the Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (Gardasil): A Systematic Review of 10 Years of Real - world Experience - on the benefits of the HPV vaccine is available at http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/06/14/cid.ciw354.full

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There is a better immune response in young girls between 9 and 15 years of age compared with older teenage girls and young women (aged 16–26 years).


Comparison of the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of a prophylactic quadrivalent human papillomavirus (types 6, 11, 16, and 18) L1 virus-like particle vaccine in male and female adolescents and young adult women.Block SL, Nolan T, Sattler C, Barr E, Giacoletti KE, Marchant CD, Castellsagué X, Rusche SA, Lukac S, Bryan JT, Cavanaugh PF Jr, Reisinger KS; Protocol 016 Study Group

Pediatrics. 2006 Nov;118(5):2135-45 See information at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17079588/

Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommendations and Reports August 29, 2014 / 63(RR05);1-30  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6305a1.htm

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All national and international scientific and regulatory bodies recommend HPV vaccine including

  • the World Health Organization
  • the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US
  • the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC)
  • the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FIGO)
  • the American Society for Clinical Oncology

Gardasil HPV vaccine is currently used in over 25 European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

 WHO Image

Source: apps.who.int/immunization/monitoring_surveillance/VaccineIntroStatus.pptx 

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Over 100 million people have been fully vaccinated with Gardasil HPV vaccine worldwide including over 220,000 girls in Ireland.

HPV vaccine has not been withdrawn in any country.


In June, 2013, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare suspended proactive recommendations for the HPV vaccine after unconfirmed reports of adverse events following vaccination appeared in the media.

In January, 2014, the Vaccine Adverse Reactions Review Committee investigating these adverse events concluded that there was no evidence to suggest a causal association between the HPV vaccine and the reported adverse events after vaccination.

The Japanese Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG) continues to ask for the resumption of recommendations for HPV vaccination for cervical cancer prevention.

Declaration to Demand the Resumption of Recommendations for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination for Cervical Cancer Prevention available at http://www.jsog.or.jp/english/declaration_20150829.html

See article about HPV vaccine and Japan from The Lancet Medical Journal at - http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(15)61152-7.pdf


In 2010 the Indian Council of Medical Research suspended the HPV vaccine programme following unofficial reports of serious adverse reactions.  Despite this the HPV vaccine remained available in India and continued to be endorsed by other advisory committees.

In March 2016 the Delhi government launched a HPV vaccine schools programme for girls.


Since 2009 HPV vaccine has been offered to girls as part of the Danish childhood vaccination programme.

HPV vaccine for girls continues to be recommended as part of the national childhood immunisation programme by the Danish Health Authority. In 2015 the Danish Health Authorities changed from using Gardasil to Cervarix following a commercial tender process.

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Most girls have no problems after HPV vaccine. Side effects that are caused by the vaccine are:

  • 1 in 10 girls will have pain, swelling and redness at the injection site and/or headache
  • 1 in 100 girls will have nausea, pain in the vaccinated arm and mild fever.

These can be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

  • Between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 girls will have an itchy rash or hives.

Occasionally girls faint after getting an injection. They will be advised to sit down for 15 minutes after vaccination which helps prevent fainting.

Severe allergic reactions are extremely rare.  As usual seek medical advice if you are concerned.

You can read more information in the patient information leaflet (PIL)


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Gardasil HPV vaccine is a safe vaccine with no known long term side effects.

All international bodies have continually reported that HPV vaccine is safe with no known long-term side effects.

The safety profile of Gardasil has been studied for over 13 years in over 1 million people during clinical trials and since the vaccine was licensed in 2006.

There has been no increase in the rates of any serious long term condition including autoimmune diseases and chronic fatigue syndrome in vaccinated girls.

An Overview of Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Safety: 2006 to 2015, available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26107345

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The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in Ireland continues to monitor the safety of HPV vaccine.

All healthcare professionals and members of the public are encouraged to report any suspected adverse reactions associated with vaccination to the HPRA. The various methods of reporting are available at www.hpra.ie

Since the HPV vaccine Gardasil was authorised (i.e. licensed) in Ireland in 2006 and up to 31st March 2017

HPRA has received 1082* reports of suspected adverse reactions/events associated with its use

    • The majority of these reports have been consistent with the types of effects known to occur with the vaccine, as described in the product information.
    • 18 reports received included the term ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’
    • 10 reports received included the term ‘post viral fatigue’
    • 5 reports received included the term ‘auto immune disorder’

*Please note that these figures are subject to constant change as new reports are received or information is provided that identifies an existing report as a duplicate of another case, leading to merging of reports etc.

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HPV vaccine does not cause premature ovarian failure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US have not found any scientific evidence that Gardasil HPV vaccine causes ovarian failure.


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Protection from Gardasil HPV vaccine is long lasting.

Gardasil HPV vaccine has been scientifically proven to prevent any infection with the HPV virus types 6, 11, 16 and 18 for at least 9 years without any loss of immunity.

Gardasil HPV vaccine like other vaccines such as hepatitis B vaccine is expected to provide life time protection from these viruses because the immune system develops antibodies to the virus after the vaccination.

See http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-vaccine-young-women.htm 

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 This page was updated on 21 April 2017