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HPV vaccine safety

The brand name of the vaccine used to vaccinate against the human papillomavirus (HPV) is Gardasil 9.

Gardasil has been used in the national vaccination programme since September 2012. Before that, a vaccine called Cervarix was used. Gardasil 9 was introduced in 2022 and is now the main HPV vaccine given in Wales.

Like all vaccines, the safety and effectiveness of Gardasil 9 has been rigorously tested in clinical trials.

A vaccine is only released to the public if scientific tests, called clinical trials, show the benefits outweigh the risks.

Monitoring safety of HPV vaccines

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) collects information from doctors, other healthcare professionals and patients regarding suspected adverse incidents (e.g., unwanted reactions following administration of a medicine, including vaccines) through the Yellow Card scheme.

These reports, or yellow cards, are recorded and regularly reviewed. If a potential problem is identified, an investigation will be carried out and if necessary appropriate action taken.

There is also a legal requirement for pharmaceutical companies to report serious and suspected adverse events to the MHRA.

The safety record of the HPV vaccine

The HPV vaccine has been used worldwide for many years in countries such as Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and most of Western Europe.

During this time the HPV vaccine has been carefully monitored by a variety of international bodies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They use many different kinds of safety data and continue to say that the HPV vaccine is very safe.

As with all medicines and vaccines, there are some mild side effects associated with the HPV vaccination.

Find out more about possible HPV vaccine side effects

Can the HPV vaccine cause long-term (chronic) conditions?

Many different studies and clinical trials have looked to see if there are any links between the HPV vaccination and other conditions including:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (sometimes called ME)
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Postural tachycardia syndrome
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome

They have found no increase in cases of these conditions among people who have been vaccinated against HPV compared with people who have not.

Emerging international evidence on the safety of HPV vaccination is regularly reviewed by the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety. The Committee issued a statement in March 2017, concluding there's no evidence of any link between the HPV vaccination and these conditions.




Last Updated: 13/03/2023 13:48:28
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website