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Side effects caused by the vaccine

Thousands of girls and women of different ages took part in the clinical trials for the HPV vaccines [1]. These trials found that the vaccine offers 98% protection against infection with the high-risk types of HPV in girls who haven't previously been infected with the virus. Side effects from both vaccines are usually mild.

Side effects for the Gardasil HPV vaccine include [2]:

  • Very common side effects (side effects that may occur in more than one per ten doses of vaccine) reported by girls who have received the vaccine are:
    • Fainting (vaccinated girls are advised to sit quietly for 15 minutes after the injection) [3]
    • Injection site problems such as redness, bruising, itching, swelling, pain or cellulitis
    • Headaches
  • Common side effects (side effects that may occur in less than one per ten doses of the vaccine, but in more than one per 100):
    • Fever
    • Nausea (feeling sick)
    • Painful arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Rare side effects (side effects that may occur in less than one per 100 does of the vaccine):
    • More than one in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience an itchy red rash (urticaria)
    • Fewer than one in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience restriction of the airways and difficult breathing (brochospasm)

For information on side effects for the Gardasil HPV vaccine, please see the NHS choices website. 


References

  1. Schiller JT et al., 2008. An update of prophylactic human papillomavirus L1 virus-like particle vaccine clinical trial results. Vaccine 26 (10), K53–K61.
  2. NHS Choices, 2014. HPV vaccine side-effects. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/hpv-vaccine-cervarix-gardasil-side-effects.aspx. Accessed: 19.05.2015
  3. FDA, 2015. Gardasil® package insert. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM111263.pdf. Accessed: 19.05.2015.
Date last updated: 
21 May 2015
Date due for review: 
21 May 2017
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