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Who can have the HPV vaccine?

The NHS vaccination programme started offering the HPV vaccine in 2008. As part of the programme, the HPV vaccine is offered free in schools to:

  • girls aged 11 to 13 in Scotland
  • girls aged 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. If you are under 18 and did not have the HPV vaccine in school, you may want to speak with your practice nurse or GP about having it. 

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, 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 girls under 18?

The HPV vaccine works best:

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

Can boys and men have the HPV vaccine?

Currently, boys cannot have the HPV vaccine free as part of the NHS vaccination programme. However, they can pay to have it privately. It is offered at most GPs, pharmacies and other health centres, with each dose costing about £150.

Men who have sex with men can have the HPV vaccine free at sexual health clinics across the UK. If you want more information about this scheme, you can download an NHS leaflet.

In 2018, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that boys should also be offered the HPV vaccine.

Read more about the HPV vaccine for boys and men.

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: 
20 Jul 2018
Date due for review: 
13 Sep 2019

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