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Expert Views

Have questions regarding your risk of HPV-related cancers or whether the HPV vaccine is suitable for you?

Here’s what medical experts have to say about HPV vaccination.

Episode 1
Top 5 Q&A

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4
Genital Warts

Episode 5

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I get the HPV vaccine together with other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine? How far apart do I need to wait between jabs?

The HPV vaccine can be given along with other vaccines on the same day—except for the COVID vaccine, which should be given at least 2 weeks apart—by injecting each vaccine on a different shoulder.1,2 While any number of vaccines can be given simultaneously with the HPV vaccine, in most cases it is recommended that no more than two doses are given on the same day. There is no negative effect on immunity, and no increased risk for post-vaccination side effects.

How long does the HPV vaccination last? Do I need a booster shot?

After complete HPV vaccination (2 doses in children vaccinated before the age of 15, and 3 doses for those vaccinated at the age of 15 and beyond)3, the body will develop immunity against HPV at sufficiently high levels for approximately 2-4 weeks. Although the immunity level gradually decreases over time, it is still high enough to last for a long time and is likely to protect against disease throughout a lifetime.

In general, a booster shot of the HPV vaccine is not advised.4

The HPV vaccines are effective in protecting against the HPV types they cover.

Vaccine typeBivalent HPV vaccine8Quadrilvalent HPV vaccine99-valent HPV vaccine3
Protects against high-risk types16, 1816, 1816, 18, 52, 58,
31, 33, 45
Protects against low-risk types that cause genital warts6, 116, 11
Protects against HPV-related cancers4 types4 types6 types
Cervical cancers caused by the HPV types covered1070%70%94%
Vaginal Cancer
Vulvar Cancer
Anal Cancer (all genders)
Oral and throat cancers (all genders)
Genital Warts (all genders)

Do I need to take a screener or test for HPV prior to taking the vaccine?

Cervical cancer screening and HPV testing are not prerequisites for getting the HPV vaccine.5 This is because the test may detect HPV types that may not cause diseases, and if abnormal cells are found during screening, they may not be caused by the HPV types contained in the vaccine.

However, cervical cancer screening is still necessary even after HPV vaccination for maximum effectiveness of cervical cancer prevention.

Is the HPV vaccine beneficial to me if I have already had sex?

Although HPV is easily transmitted through sexual intercourse6, it does not mean that you will always be infected with HPV after having sex. Even after being infected with a type of HPV, the HPV vaccine can still help to protect against infection from other HPV types.

While it is advisable to vaccinate before sexual intercourse4, the HPV vaccine is still beneficial for those who have already had sex for the following reasons:

  1. Your partner may not be infected with HPV, so you are still protected against future infections.
  2. You may not be infected with HPV even after having sex, so the vaccine is still very beneficial.
  3. Even if you are already infected with a type of HPV, there are so many types of HPV that what you have may not be what the vaccines cover. HPV vaccines can still help protect against infection from the HPV types contained in them.4

In summary, even after having sex, the HPV vaccine is still beneficial for disease prevention.

What are the side effects from the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is well-tolerated and has a good safety profile. There may be some side effects after vaccination, but most of these are local, i.e., pain, swelling, redness around the vaccination site.4 The most common reaction is a slight pain during the injection of vaccine.

Pain on the vaccination site and the arm where the injection was given may be observed but will usually resolve on its own within 3-5 days. If in case it persists for weeks, please consult your doctor.

Other side effects of the HPV vaccine, including fever, rash, and fainting after vaccination is rarely seen. If they occur, it will usually be observed within 15-30 minutes after vaccination. Severe side effects, such severe allergic reactions to the vaccine, are rare.

Situations where HPV vaccination is not advisable:
The HPV vaccine is not advised for people who are allergic to ingredients contained in the vaccine and not recommended for pregnant women.3,7 If sexually active, you can take birth control during the course of the vaccination. However, if pregnancy occurs before all the doses of the vaccine has been given, it is advisable to complete the pregnancy first before completing the vaccination as there are no reports yet on the effects of HPV vaccine on the fetus. As such, there are no recommendations for abortions because of HPV vaccination. However, the HPV vaccine can be given to nursing mothers.4

Is it possible to get my HPV vaccination during my period?

3At the moment, there is no literature showing HPV vaccination has an effect on the menstrual cycle or vice versa. However, it is recommended you speak with a doctor about it.3