HPV Vaccine – Facts, Facts & More Facts

HPV Vaccine – Facts, Facts, and More Facts!

HPV vaccine is very safe

The vaccine is not different or special compared to other common vaccines. Extensive research with millions of participants shows that Gardasil does not increase the risk for any serious condition* and is very safe for all ages, male or female. As with all medicines and vaccines, extensive global ongoing surveillance continues to monitor safety.

HPV vaccine reduces HPV-related disease

Some myths have suggested that the vaccine made existing infections worse. This is not true. Studies show no worsening of pre-existing diseases. Ideally, the vaccine should be given before your first encounter with sexual activity because it does not treat an existing HPV infection.

Protection from the vaccine is expected to be long-lasting

Not only is the vaccine safe but it also offers long-lasting protection. Current data suggests the vaccine protection is ongoing, with no sign of waning. The mechanism of immune memory has been demonstrated, indicating that the vaccine will provide long-term protection, possibly for life.

HPV disease (not the vaccine) can damage fertility

HPV vaccine protects fertility. Studies show the same rate of pregnancy and births occur in vaccinated and unvaccinated women. In some cases, not being vaccinated can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage, prematurity or low birthweight related to the weakening of the cervix as a result of treatment for HPV disease.

The vaccine has been shown to be safe in pregnant women

No birth defects are associated with the vaccine. Specific congenital abnormalities reported in the clinical trials and subsequent studies are the same in both vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups. Extensive, ongoing research supports this.

Protecting your child by early HPV vaccination against acquisition of HPV infections does not contribute to them being more sexually active down the track

There is no evidence that the HPV vaccine given at age 11 or 12 years has any bearing on when or how much your child becomes sexually active. In fact, research has shown that girls who have been vaccinated against HPV have subsequently made more responsible decisions regarding their sexual health compared to non-vaccinated girls. There are other vaccines given for infections associated with sexual transmission, e.g. Hepatitis B, and none of them influence the future sexual behaviour of the child who has it.

There is no evidence to indicate other HPV types will replace those controlled by the vaccine

There is no evidence that immunity against the nine HPV types in the vaccine is associated with a changing prevalence of other HPV types.

The vaccine has been tested in children down to 9 years of age

The clinical trials included girls and boys aged from 9 years of age, who were tested for their immune response to the vaccine and followed up for safety.
It would have been unethical to have subjected girls to cervical smears at this younger age. The group who received the vaccine in early adolescence has now been followed as young adults, with no development of the HPV infections covered by the vaccine.

Aluminium salts are used in many pharmaceutical products from medicines to cosmetics

Aluminium is the most common metallic element on earth. Both aluminium adjuvant and saline were used as placebo vaccines in the trials. The incidence of systemic reactions was very low in both groups. Also, safety outcomes are the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Aluminium is used in most vaccines and has an excellent safety record of over 80 years.

* As with any medication, vaccines carry an extremely rare risk of an anaphylactic reaction. The rate with Gardasil is around three per one million doses. Vaccinators are trained to manage these events.


Click here for a printable pamphlet - Preventing HPV Cancers by Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know

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HPV Project New Zealand

The NZ HPV Project is supported by: 

  • An educational grant from New Zealand District Health Boards
  • CSL Biotherapies Ltd NZ for an educational grant contributing to optimisation.

Brought to you by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF). 

For information or advice on where to seek help, please get in touch.

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New Zealand HPV Project
C/- Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation Inc (STIEF)

PO Box 2437, Shortland Street,
Auckland 1140, New Zealand

[email protected]

Tollfree: 0508 11 12 13
If calling from mobile: 09 433 6526

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