Health Care

The HPV Vaccine: The Best Shot Against Cervical Cancer

A Mother Comforts Her Daughter While a Physician Puts a Bandaid on an Injection Site in the Upper Arm.

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Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the leading cause of cervical cancer. As a parent, you can help protect your child from cervical cancer by getting them the HPV vaccine. We’re here to explain what you should know about the vaccine and how it helps, so you can get this vaccination for your children with confidence.

Who Should Get the HPV Vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is recommended for children at age 11 or 12, but they can be given as early as 9 years old. All preteens should have protection with the HPV vaccine so they don’t get HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life.

It’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of the vaccine six to 12 months apart, starting the first dose within that age frame. Only two doses are needed if the first dose is given before they turn 15.

It’s also important for young adults (up to age 26) to receive the vaccine as well. Teens and young adults who start the series later than age 15 need three doses of the vaccine. The HPV vaccine is not recommended for those older than 26.

How Well Does the HPV Vaccine Work?

The HPV vaccine works extremely well, preventing more than 90% of HPV-related cancers, including cervical cancer.

Since HPV vaccination was first recommended in 2006, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers have dropped 88% among teen girls and 81% among young adult women. Other benefits of the HPV vaccine include fewer teens and young adults getting genital warts and a reduced number of cases of precancers of the cervix in young women.

The protection provided by HPV vaccines lasts a long time, too. In studies, people who received HPV vaccines were followed for about 12 years. Their protection against HPV has remained high with no evidence that it’s decreased over time.

Where Can My Child Get the HPV Vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is typically available at doctor’s offices, such as OB/GYNs and pediatricians, clinics, school health centers and health departments. At AdventHealth, our women’s and children’s health navigators can help you find a health care provider and set up appointments, too. Learn more here

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