WHAT IS HPV VACCINATION ? Here are 17 popular FAQs

Questions about HPV vaccines are tons. And why not! It is a vaccine which is still evolving. There are concurrent research and developments going on about HPV vaccine each passing day. Let us find out, what is HPV vaccination. Also we will address 17 Frequently Asked Questions about HPV vaccine.

1.What is HPV Vaccination ?

Many people have no clue, what is HPV vaccination. HPV vaccine is basically a vaccine that work against a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (in short HPV). This virus infection occurs through sexual contact. HPV virus infection brings out skin lesions called warts. Also, this causes cervix cancer in women.

Hence HPV vaccination protects against both cervix cancer and warts. Right now it is marketed as a potent anti-cervical-cancer vaccine. Target population for this vaccination is young adolescent girls.

We have written an article previously called “Do you know HPV vaccine prevents what killer cancer ?” In that article we have talked through fundamental facts on how HPV vaccine works, its benefit and side-effects etc. 


Here in this article we will answer some common queries related to HPV vaccine.

Why should I vaccinate my kid so early?

Often people wonder what age is HPV vaccine given? The recommended age of vaccinating with HPV is between 9-14 years, as per CDC. ( maximum age being 45 years ). 

Parents often ask why there is any need at all to immunise this early ? The answer to this is as below.

  • Immunity produced in kids around this time is way better than in later age.
  • Also vaccinating in early age protects a person ahead of first exposure with HPV virus. 

Thus, what age is HPV vaccine given is important. As it determines the quality and efficiency of immunity generated. 

3. Is it recommended to give HPV vaccine for males too?

As per CDC and WHO all kids, preferably around 11-12 years of age (or at least between 9 – 14 years of age) should recieve shots of HPV vaccine. This is applicable for both females as well as males. 

However in developing countries like India this vaccine is mandatory for females, and there is no such clear guideline for hpv vaccine for males even now. 

Evidently HPV vaccine prevents ano-genital and mouth cancers, as well as warts in men. Besides what is hpv vaccination doing, is to prevent transmission of human papilloma virus in community. Thereby it brings down burden of diseases related to HPV infection in entire community. 

4. What is HPV vaccination schedule?

After discovering what is HPV vaccination, parents are eager to know its schedule. The answer is, it is a 2 dose or a 3 dose schedule relative to, which type of HPV vaccine is used and age of person taking vaccine. 


1st dose 

Subsequent dose 

2 dose schedule 

1st dose on day 0 i.e today 

2nd dose at 6 or 12 months

3 dose schedule 

1st dose at day 0 i.e today 

2nd dose at 1 month or at 2 month; 3rd dose at 6 months

The details of vaccine schedule as per vaccine type is delineated in a separate blog previously. Link is given below. 


Types and price of HPV Vaccine and its shortcomings


5. Suppose HPV vaccination has started but schedule is interrupted in between, and then child is again brought for vaccination. Is it imperative to repeat whole schedule ?

In this case there is no need to repeat schedule from beginning. Vaccination schedule is followed from where it is left. 


6. How much minimum gap should be between two does in a 2 dose schedule?

Here minimum gap between 1st and 2nd dose must be 5 months. 

7. What if second dose is given within 5 months of first ?

In such case need to redo second dose. This should be give after completing 5 months from first dose. 

8. How much minimum interval should be between does in a 3 dose schedule?

In a 3 dose schedule the minimum gap between 1st and 2nd dose is 1 month. And the minimum interval between 2nd and 3rd dose is 3 months. 


Further take care that 3rd dose is given no less than 5 months of first dose.


9. If a person takes HPV vaccine before 15th birthday and second dose is waiting, and then comes after few years, what to do in such scenario ?

As discussed in previous blog, if the first vaccine is given on or after 15th birthday then 3 dose schedule of HPV vaccination is followed. And if first vaccine is given before 15th birthday then 2 dose schedule is followed.


Thus, what is hpv vaccination schedule for above scenario? It is of course a 2 dose schedule. As first dose is already given more than 5 months back, only second dose is enough. This shot is given without any further lingering.


10. What is the first made in India anti-cervical cancer vaccine ?


In previous blog we have discussed about 3 HPV Vaccines namely Cervarix and Gardasil 4 and Gardasil 9. These are conventional and efficient vaccines available since many years.


Just recently in the year 2022 there is a new addition. There is an HPV vaccine is developed by Serum Institute of India, called as Cervavac. This is a quadrivalent vaccine. Hence better known as Cervavac qHPV


The prime limiting factor for coverage of HPV vaccination is its price. One dose of conventional anti cervical cancer vaccine for female and male is available these days costs around 3000 to 10,000 rupees per dose. 


Whereas Cervavac comes with a reasonable price. Commercial price of Cervavac is fixed at just 2000 rupees per 2 dose vial. Also if ministry of health tries to procure it, then it will be even much cheaper than this. 


Government is considering to bring Cervavac vaccination in 6 states initially in the month of June 2023 as a part of 1st phase of vaccination. These states are Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Chhattisgarh, Mozoram, Maharashtra, Uttarpradesh. Target age group for this girls between age of 9-14 years. 


Cervavac vaccine is still not available at majority of centres. As per SII ( serum institute of India) a small number of vaccine will be manufactured in year 2023. And 2024 year onwards production will be boosted. 


11. Can I choose to give my kid Gardasil 9 as later doses after first dose of Cervarix or Gardasil 4 ?

Yes absolutely. As Gardasil 9 came to market not long ago, if a kid is vaccinated with bivalent or quadrivalent vaccine previously, then you can upgrade it to Gardasil 9 for subsequent doses. 

12. Can Tdap given along with HPV vaccine at the same schedule ?

Yes, Tdap can be given at same setting, but in distinct site.

13. Is HPV vaccine safe ?


Now as you know what is HPV vaccination, you must be wondering is it safe or not! 

There are mild side effects with HPV vaccine same as any other vaccine. Pain and swelling at site of injection and body pain are few to name.

Adolescent complain of giddiness and fainting after taking this vaccine. So a person should be kept for observation for 15-20 minutes post vaccination. It’s better to inject this vaccine in lying down or in reclined position. 

14. Can pregnant women take HPV ?

Another question about HPV vaccine is, can it be given in pregnancey? And the answer is “No”. A pregnant woman best not take HPV vaccine. It is because this vaccine is not studied in detail in human pregnancy. However if a person is accidentally given HPV vaccine during pregnancy, it is not a criteria for termination. Pregnancy should still be continued. 

15. Importance of cervical cancer screening ?

Cervical cancer screening is exceedingly important in women after certain age. A Pap smear sample is taken from cervix and examined under microscope to see for any abnormal looking cell.

This is to track down cervix cancer and precancerous states early. Also there are methods to detect Human Papillomavirus from this sample.

Point to note here is that after a women develops HPV infection or cancer or precancer, vaccine can not reverse the path. 

16. Is it still required to screen for cervical cancer if a person is already vaccinated ?

It is absolutely necessary to screen for cervical cancer even if a person is vaccinated. What is HPV vaccination doing is, to scale down the chances of developing cancer by manifold. However regular Pap smear screening is still required in women as per guideline.

17. If a child has HIV infection, then what should be the schedule of vaccination?

In this case adhere to 3 dose schedule of HPV vaccine for the kid. 

In immunocompromised states like HIV or immunosuppressive therapies, 2 doses fail to generate satisfactory immunity. Hence 3 doses are required


We addressed all basic questions about HPV vaccine here. If you have got more queries regarding HPV vaccine then comment below. Also if you have anything more to add on to then do mention regarding cervical cancer vaccine for female. Share this article to maximum let people know what is HPV vaccination


All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.

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