When should the HPV vaccine be given to be most effective, and what are the concerns about the vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is the best way to prevent getting HPV, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). If girls get the vaccine before becoming sexually active, they reduce their chances of getting cervical cancer.

The vaccine is recommended for girls and women ages 11 through 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC). It is also recommended that boys and men ages 11 through 21 get the vaccine.

The HPV vaccine is given in three doses over a six month period, according to the CDC.

Though the vaccine has been used around the world for about six years and has been safe, there are still some concerns about it.

Like many medications, there is the possibility it could cause a severe allergic reaction, according to the NIH. That kind of life-threatening reaction from a vaccine, however, is very rare.

Other mild to moderate side problems with the vaccine that could be of concern, according to the NIH, include:

  • Brief fainting spells
  • Headache
  • Mild to moderate fever
  • Pain and redness at the injection site

The HPV vaccine, like all vaccines, will continue to be monitored to ensure its safety, according to the NIH.

For more information about when to get the HPV vaccine and concerns about it, talk with your doctor.

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