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HPV Vaccine Safety

What are the possible side effects after getting Gardasil® vaccine? 

Side effects that can happen but pass in a day or two include:

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

You can give her paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease any pain.

  • Between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 girls will get an itchy rash or hives.
  • Between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 100,000 girls will have wheezing (bronchospasm).
  • 1 in 1 million girls will have a serious allergic reaction.

As usual seek medical advice if you are concerned.

Before the next dose of the vaccine, you should tell the vaccination team if there has been any changes to your daughter ’s medical history.

How do we know that the Gardasil® vaccine is safe?

The HSE is guided by the recommendations of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

All vaccines used by the HSE including Gardasil® are licensed by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These agencies have strict procedures for the licensing and monitoring of all vaccines to ensure their safety and effectiveness.By December 2017, over 244 million doses of Gardasil® have been distributed worldwide, either as part of national immunisation programmes or by private doctors.

Gardasil®/Gardasil9® is currently used in 84 government funded HPV immunisation programmes worldwide including the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to protect girls from cervical cancer. 

In Ireland 730,000 doses of Gardasil® have been distributed and more than 240,000 girls have been fully vaccinated against HPV.

All national and international regulatory bodies have stated HPV vaccines are safe.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Advisory Committee for Vaccine Safety (GACVS) has reviewed the evidence on the safety of Gardasil vaccine in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014  and 2015. WHO has never reported safety concerns with HPV vaccines.

WHO has again reported in July  2017 that HPV vaccines are considered to be extremely safe.  Further information can be found here  http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/hpv/en/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US, states HPV vaccination is recommended because the benefit of, preventing cancer, far outweigh the risks of possible side effects.

Since the HPV vaccine Gardasil was licensed in Ireland in 2006 the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has continually  reported that the majority of the reports received following vaccination  are side effects known to occur with the vaccine.

There is no scientific evidence in Ireland or in any other country that the HPV vaccine causes any long term medical condition.

No country has raised a safety signal for HPV vaccine Gardasil®.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US, which monitors vaccine safety in the US, has monitored the safety of the HPV vaccine for over 12 years, provides an information leaflet for parents on the safety of Gardasil vaccine, updated in August 2016, available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/pdf/data-summary-hpv-gardasil-vaccine-is-safe.pdf and further  information at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/hpv/hpv-safety-faqs.html

In January 2017 all 69 US National Cancer Institute NCI-designated Cancer Centers Endorsed HPV Vaccination

“As national leaders in cancer research and clinical care, we are compelled to collectively call upon parents and health care providers to increase vaccination rates so our nation’s children don’t grow up to become cancer patients.

HPV vaccines, like all vaccines (used in the U.S.), have passed extensive safety testing before and after being approved.

The vaccines have a safety profile similar to that of other vaccines approved for adolescents in the U.S.

Internationally, the safety of HPV vaccines has been tested and approved by the World Health Organization’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety”.

In 2018 all 70 US National Cancer Institute NCI-designated Cancer Centers endorsed goal of eliminating HPV related cancers by HPV vaccination and screening. 

High HPV vaccination rates combined with cervical cancer screening and treatment will result in the elimination of cervical cancer in the near future and elimination of other HPV-related cancers thereafter.

See information at

HPV Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness

Since HPV vaccine was licensed in 2006 research has been conducted all over the world that shows that the vaccine is safe and prevents cancer. The evidence has been steadily growing since 2006 and now an enormous bank of research exists which proves the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine.

Click here to read more about the research.

This page was updated on 2 October 2018