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 which may occur in more than one per 10 doses of vaccine) reported by girls who have received the vaccine are:

  • injection site problems such as redness, bruising, itching, swelling, pain or cellulitis
  • headaches

Common (side effects which may occur in less than one per 10 but more than one per 100 doses of vaccine):

  • fever
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • painful arms, hands, legs or feet

Rare (side effects which may occur in less than one per 100 but more than one per 1,000 doses of vaccine):

  • More than one in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience: An itchy red rash (urticaria)
  • Fewer than 1 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 Cervarix 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), K53-61.
  2. NHS choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/HPV-vaccination/Pages/Side-effects.aspx. Accessed 03.05.2013.
Date last updated: 
03 May 2013
Date due for review: 
30 Apr 2015