The HPV vaccine is safe. Vaccines are licensed for use in Canada only if they meet very strict standards for safety and effectiveness. The HPV vaccine was well studied in clinical trials and was not licensed for use in Canada until clinical studies showed that it was safe and effective.
Since the HPV vaccine was approved, 175 million doses have been distributed worldwide. As with all vaccines, the HPV vaccine has been monitored very closely and has been shown to be safe. Common reactions to the HPV vaccine are similar to reactions from other vaccines and include redness, swelling and soreness in the arm where the vaccine was given, headache and fever. These reactions are part of the body’s normal immune response to a vaccine. Some parents may have heard in the media that the HPV vaccine causes serious side effects. Serious side effects to all vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, are extremely rare. It is important to understand the difference between a side effect that is caused by a vaccine and an unrelated event that happens to follow the receipt of a vaccine. Parents may have also heard that some girls faint when they get the HPV vaccine. Fainting can occur with any medical procedure - not just the HPV vaccine – and people recover quickly. The benefits of getting immunized greatly outweigh the very small risks.
HPV visualized: Comparing the safety of the HPV vaccine to the risks from the disease
Health Canada Information Update (December 9th, 2015) - Gardasil vaccine safety studies show no new risks
If you are a health care provider looking for immunization information, please visit the Health Professionals section of the BCCDC website. There you can find clinical resources, immunization courses, print resources for patients and more.
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