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Who should have the HPV vaccine?

There are 2 human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programmes in Wales.

One is for children who are 12 to 14 years of age, and one is for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) up to 45 years of age.


The universal HPV vaccination programme

Girls and boys aged 12 to 14 are offered HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination for free. The vaccine protects against cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer. It's usually given to girls and boys in school years 8 and 9 at schools in Wales. People who missed their vaccination when they were offered it in school still remain eligible up to the age of 25, including:

  • girls born after 1 September 1991
  • boys born after 1 September 2006


Health conditions and HPV vaccination

Tell the person giving you the vaccine if you have a bleeding disorder. This doesn't necessarily mean that you cannot have the HPV vaccine.

Let the person giving you the vaccine know if you have a weakened immune system or are HIV positive. People who have a weakened immune system or are HIV positive need to have 3 doses of the HPV vaccine.

Who should not be vaccinated?

As with any medicine or vaccine, the HPV vaccine should not be used in people who:

  • have had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction (severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine or any of its ingredients
  • are pregnant

Who should delay vaccination?

The HPV vaccination should be delayed for people who are unwell and have a high temperature, or are feeling hot and shivery.

This is because symptoms of the illness may be confused with side effects from the vaccine, and this could result in the wrong diagnosis being made.

However, there is no reason to delay vaccination for a mild illness, such as the common cold.

Older girls and boys and the HPV vaccine

Anyone who missed their HPV vaccine when they were offered it in school should speak to their school nurse, school immunisation team or their GP practice. Make an appointment to get up to date with your HPV vaccine as soon as possible.


HPV vaccination for men who have sex with men (MSM)

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have not benefitted from the longstanding girls’ HPV vaccination programme.

MSM are at increased risk of cancers linked with HPV types 16 and 18, such as cancer of the anus, penis, mouth or throat.

MSM are also at increased risk of genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11.

From April 2017, MSM up to and including 45 years became eligible for free HPV vaccination on the NHS when they visit sexual health clinics in Wales.

MSM require 2 doses at least 6 months apart to be fully vaccinated.

MSM who are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system (immunosuppressed) need to have 3 doses of the HPV vaccine.

Ask the doctor or nurse at the clinic for more details.

HPV vaccination for transgender people

Trans women (people who were assigned male at birth) are eligible in the same way as MSM if their risk of getting HPV is comparable to the risk of MSM who are eligible for the HPV vaccine.

Trans men (people who were assigned female at birth) are eligible if they have sex with other men and are aged 45 or under.

No further doses of the HPV vaccine are needed if trans men have previously completed a course of HPV vaccination as part of the girls' HPV vaccine programme.


Last Updated: 13/03/2023 13:48:56
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website