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Vaccine Facts


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

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 these precancerous growths and cancer developing.

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

However though the vaccine prevents cervical precancers if given before girls become sexually active 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/  

Some HPV infections caused by high risk HPV types can progress to precancerous growths which may then progress to cervical cancer.

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

Countries with high vaccine uptake rates have seen the best impact. Precancerous growths of the cervix have been reduced by up to 75% in countries such as Australia, Sweden and Scotland.

In Scotland research has shown there has been a 90% fall in cancer causing HPV infections in vaccinated girls. These new findings indicate that the positive impact of the HPV vaccine may be even greater than was initially thought.   The HPV vaccination programme in Scotland has achieved a consistently high uptake of around 90% in 12- to 13-year-old girls.

Scottish Microbiological Society https://www.microbiologysociety.org/news/hpv-immunisation-campaign-causes-massive-reduction-in-prevalence-of-cancer-causing-virus-in-scottish-women.html (April 2017)

In June 2018, similar research in England has shown cancer causing HPV infections fell 86% among women aged 16 to 21 who were eligible for the vaccine during this time period reviewed. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, jiy249, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiy249

Since the HPV vaccination programme began  in Australia in 2007,  infection with cervical cancer causing  HPV types 16 and 18 in young women has also fallen dramatically, leading to  a fall in the number of cervical pre-cancers.

HPV vaccine impact in Australian women: ready for an HPV-based screening program

Available at https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2016/204/5/hpv-vaccine-impact-australian-women-ready-hpv-based-screening-program (2016)

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 SLNolan TSattler CBarr EGiacoletti KEMarchant CDCastellsagué XRusche SALukac SBryan JTCavanaugh PF JrReisinger KSProtocol 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

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.

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

HPV vaccine has not been withdrawn in any country.


The Danish Health Authority has recommended HPV vaccine for girls as part of the national childhood immunisation programme since 2009.

The HPV vaccine used in Denmark changed from Cervarix to Gardasil9 in November 2017 following a commercial tender process.

Gardasil9 protects from HPV types that are responsible for almost 90% of cervical cancers.

In January 2018 the Danish health authorities reported that twice as many girls received HPV vaccine in 2017 as in 2016. https://www.ssi.dk/English/News/News/2018/2018%20-%2001%20-%20hpv.aspx


The Japanese government stopped active recommendation of HPV vaccination but has never banned the HPV vaccines.

Gardasil is still available in Japan.

In February 2018 a Japanese study reported no difference in the rates of a wide range of symptoms in vaccinated and unvaccinated girls. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405852117300708

In July 2017 the World Health Organization(WHO) reported the mortality rate from cervical cancer in Japan, where HPV vaccination is not proactively recommended, increased by 3.4% from 1995 to 2005 and is expected to increase by 5.9% from 2005 to 2015.
WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) Safety Update on HPV vaccines http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/hpv/June_2017/en/

The Japanese Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG) continues to actively campaign for the resumption of recommendations for HPV vaccination given the high rates of cervical cancer deaths in Japan. 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

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.


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)



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

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 30th June 2018

HPRA has received 1138* 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.
  • 19 reports received included the term ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’
  • 13 reports received included the term ‘post viral fatigue’
  • 7 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.


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.


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 11 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 

This page was updated on 9 August 2018