The Gardasil vaccine helps protect you from human papillomavirus (HPV) strains that are associated with many types of cancer and genital warts.
What should I know about HPV?
HPV infection usually comes from sexual contact, and most people will be infected with some strain at some point in their life- about 14 million people are infected annually in the United States alone. Most of these infections resolve on their own, but some lead to serious health problems. These include cervical, vaginal and vulvar, anal, throat, and penile cancers.
How can I take steps to protect myself from HPV?
The HPV vaccine, called Gardasil, is approved by the FDA and is recommended by the CDC for people of all genders. The vaccine is typically given at age 11 or 12, but can be given starting at age nine through adulthood. In 2018, The FDA extended the approved age range for Gardasil through age 45. Adolescents receive two doses separated by 6-12 months, and people who start the vaccine at age 15 or over should get the vaccine as a three-dose series in the time frame of six months.
As with any medicine, there is a chance of side effects. Most people who receive the Gardasil vaccine have no problems, but if they do, they may present as soreness in the arm the shot was given, redness or swelling, a mild or moderate fever, or a headache. Other side effects are associated with any injected vaccine, such as fainting, pain in the arm the shot was given, or an allergic reaction. Because of this, we will ask that you stay in the clinic for twenty minutes following the first vaccine administration to monitor for any side effects. However, it’s important to know that Gardasil not a substitute for cervical cancer screening, and does not replace the need for pap smears.
Learn more about HPV and the vaccine here. Please call the front desk to schedule this appointment. Even if you don’t have insurance, we can help you enroll in programs to cover the cost of the Gardasil vaccination.