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GARDASIL® - Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV)

This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:28 AM

Environmental Health & Prevention Services

The GARDASIL® vaccine protects against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, 18 and works best when given before any contact with these types of HPV. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI) in Canada and the world.

GARDASIL® is free for girls in Grade 8-12.  A one-time catch-up program will also be offered from September 2012-June 2013 for females that were in grade 8 in the 2007/2008 school year.

Understanding HPV

HPV is a common virus and there are many different types. Some types cause no harm and go away on their own; others can cause diseases of the genital area and can develop into cervical cancer, pre-cancerous lesions or genital warts, depending on the HPV type. Types 6 and 11 cause genital warts. Types 16 and18 cause:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Vulvar and vaginal cancer
  • Cervical adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS)

Types 16 and18 cause about 70% of cervical cancers and types 6 and 11 cause about 90% of genital warts. GARDASILl® helps prevent these diseases – but it will not treat them.

How is GARDASIL® given?

The GARDASIL® vaccine is a series of 3 shots. The vaccine is safe for females 9-45 years of age and males who are 9-26 years of age.  Ideally the doses are given as:

  • First dose.
  • Second dose: 2 months after the first dose.
  • Third dose: 6 months after the first dose.

Is GARDASIL® safe?

Yes. Serious side effects are rare. Common side effects are similar to those with other vaccines:

  • Pain, swelling, itching and redness at the spot where the needle is given.
  • Fever, nausea, dizziness and headache may occur.

Who should NOT get GARDASIL®?

GARDASIL® is not recommended for:

  • Pregnant women.
  • Those allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the package.
  • Those with an allergy to the vaccine.
  • Those who feel ill, have a fever or infection worse than a cold. The dose should be delayed until the client is feeling better.

How long will GARDASIL® protect against HPV infection?

Research shows that the vaccine protects against infection with the HPV vaccine types for at least 5 years. Studies are still underway to see if protection will last longer, or if a booster dose is needed.

Additional information about GARDASIL®

GARDASIL® is not meant for treatment of active genital warts, or cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancers. However, if infected with one type of HPV, GARDASIL® can protect against the other 3 types.

Females who receive GARDASIL® should continue cervical cancer screening and follow their doctor’s advice on pap testing.

Severe reactions are rare. However, you should wait 15 minutes after your injection before leaving.

Report any severe reaction to your health care provider or to Lambton Public Health.

To learn more about Ontario's Grade 8 HPV Vaccination Program: http:/

Related links:

The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

Information on Sexual Health (located on this website)


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