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Who can have the HPV vaccine?

The NHS vaccination programme started offering the HPV vaccine in 2008. The HPV vaccine is offered free in schools from:

  • age 11 to 13 in Scotland
  • age 12 to 13 in the rest of the UK.

If you missed having it in school, the HPV vaccine is free until you are 18 years old. You can speak with your practice nurse or GP about having it. 

The HPV vaccine was only offered to girls, but from September 2019 it will be offered to boys too. 

Can I have the HPV vaccine if I am age 18 or older?

Yes, you can still have the HPV vaccine privately. The Gardasil, Cervarix and Gardasil 9 vaccines are sometimes available from travel clinics, local pharmacies and other health centres. Each dose usually costs about £150.

You may be able to have the vaccine privately at your GP, but some surgeries will charge an extra administration fee. Check the full cost before you book an appointment.

Different places may only offer the HPV vaccine to people up to a certain age. For example, some pharmacies only offer it to people up to age 45. Check if there is an age limit wherever you want to book an appointment.

Is there any reason I shouldn’t have the vaccine?

You should not have the HPV vaccine if:

  • you had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine
  • you are pregnant.

If you feel unwell and have a high temperature when you are due to have the HPV vaccine, you should have it another time. This is to avoid confusing the illness with any side effects of the vaccine.

If you miss having the HPV vaccine and want it, speak with your school nurse, practice nurse or GP so you can have it as soon as possible.

Why is the HPV vaccine only free to under-18s?

The HPV vaccine works best:

  • before you come into contact with HPV
  • when your immune system is strongest, which is usually before puberty begins.


Show references

  1. NHS Choices, Childhood vaccines timeline, www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/childhood-vaccines-timeline/#hpv-vaccine-girls-only Accessed: June 2018.



Date last updated: 
09 Apr 2019
Date due for review: 
01 Oct 2020

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