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GP surgeries and the HPV vaccine

The information on this page is for primary care professionals. It may also be useful for other healthcare professionals. 

Whether or not your surgery offers the HPV vaccine, you and your colleagues can play an important role in supporting patients to access it. 

On this page:

Reassure parents and guardians with concerns

Having the HPV vaccine reduces the risk of HPV infection, cervical abnormalities and genital warts. And the latest evidence we have suggests having the vaccine before the age of 17 reduces the chance of developing cervical cancer by 88%. Yet some parents may have doubts about the HPV vaccine. Their concerns may range from worries about side effects to confusion about why their child is being offered it at a young age, and they may come to you for further information. You can give them the facts about HPV and the vaccine and point them towards reliable sources of information, such as our section on the HPV vaccine.

Read more about attitudes to the HPV vaccine >

Help patients access the vaccine

You may have patients who are entitled to the HPV vaccine on the NHS but need your help to access it. These include:

  • Boys and girls who would prefer to have the vaccine at the surgery rather than at school.
  • Young people up to and including the age of 25 who missed out on having the vaccine when they were younger. They may be entitled to have it free on the NHS up to this age if they were offered it in Year 8 (England and Wales), S1 (Scotland) or year 9 (Northern Ireland), but didn’t have it at the time.
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) up to and including the age of 45.
  • Trans men, if their risk level is similar to MSM, and some trans women.

If your practice doesn’t have the vaccine, you can signpost to other practices or clinics in the area that can help.

Read more about who is entitled to the HPV vaccine on the NHS >

Inform patients about having the vaccine privately

At the moment, the HPV vaccine is only available on the NHS to specific groups. But you may have patients outside the eligible groups who want to know how to access it privately, including patients who have been diagnosed with HPV during cervical screening. 

While the HPV vaccine can’t get rid of an existing infection, there is some limited evidence that being vaccinated may benefit older patients – even those who have had cervical cell changes or cervical cancer. It is important for these patients to talk to their secondary care team about whether there would be benefit for them. 

Patients can access the HPV vaccine privately at travel clinics and some pharmacies. 

Attitudes to the HPV vaccine >

Read about common attitudes towards the vaccine and how to address them.

Use our resources

We have posters, leaflets and booklets available to download from our online Shop.

Download resources
Date last updated: 
05 Feb 2021
Date due for review: 
01 Feb 2024
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