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HPV Vaccine Before 19

Date last reviewed: 
Thursday, Jan 11, 2024

Reduce your risk of developing HPV-related cancers

The vaccine is most effective the sooner you get it – don’t wait. 


Make an appointment for your vaccine today!

Option 1: Call your pharmacy to book an appointment


Option 2: Call your health unit or health centre


Option 3: Contact your community health centre or nursing station (for First Nations communities)

The HPV vaccine prevents several cancers. Now is the time to protect you/your child. 

HPV is transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact and can cause a variety of cancers as well as genital warts.
The HPV vaccine is a cancer-preventing vaccine that can benefit you, no matter your sex, gender, sexual orientation, or sexual activity status.
In British Columbia, males born in 2005 or later can get the vaccine for free as long as they get their first dose before they turn 19, and their last dose before they turn 26. There is a six month “grace” period for males who turn 19 between January and June 2024 – they will still be eligible to initiate their HPV vaccine series until June 30, 2024 (a 6-month grace period).
The HPV vaccine is part of the recommended vaccination schedule for all youth in British Columbia.


Learn more about your eligibility to receive the vaccine and how it can keep you and others safe

Why should I get the HPV vaccine?

  • The vaccine helps protect against types of HPV that can cause cancers of the cervix, anus, mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva, as well as genital warts.
  • HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections that can be transmitted both sexually and through skin-to-skin contact. About 75% of sexually active people who have not received their HPV vaccination will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives. While most infections will go away on their own, some will not and can become cancerous over time.
  • The HPV vaccine is safe. More than 200 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been given safely worldwide. Over 15 years of safety monitoring show that the HPV vaccine is very safe and effective.

Graphic by Canadian Cancer Society


To learn more about HPV and the vaccine:

How do I book my vaccine?

Step 1:
Book an appointment at a pharmacy or health unit or health centre. People living in First Nations communities can contact their community health centre or nursing station to book an appointment. Remember to have your BC Health Card number readily available. 
Step 2: 
Book an appointment for your remaining doses. 
Under age 15 at time of 1st dose
Second dose – 6 months later
Over age 15 at time of 1st dose*
2nd dose – 2 months later
3rd dose – 4 months after the 2nd dose
Example: Ken received their first dose at their local pharmacy at age 18 on March 1st.
That same pharmacy provided Ken with their second dose on May 1st and their last dose on September 1st
Step 3: 
Develop a plan or set a reminder for yourself to attend your appointment. 
*If you received your first dose after your 15th birthday or have a weakened immune system, you will require 3 doses of the HPV vaccine. If you are unsure if you received an HPV vaccine before your 15th birthday, contact your primary health care provider or check your immunization status on your Health Gateway App

Common questions about the HPV vaccine

When is the best time to get the HPV vaccine?
It's best to get vaccinated as soon as you can, and, ideally before you are sexually active and are exposed to HPV. 
I’ve already had sex. Should I get the vaccine?
You should still get the vaccine if you’re already sexually active. While you may have already been exposed to one or more types of HPV, it is unlikely that you would have been exposed to all of the types the vaccine protects against, so you can still benefit from immunization. 
Do I still need the vaccine if I am not sexually active?
Yes! Whether you are sexually active now or decide to wait until later in life, getting your HPV vaccine now will provide you safety and comfort for when you're ready. 
HPV transmission often happens within 2 to 5 years of becoming sexually active, so it is important to get vaccinated before becoming sexually active. Whether you are currently sexually active, waiting until later in life, or never plan to be sexually active, getting vaccinated helps protect you and those close to you against all methods of HPV transmission and its associated cancers.
How well does the HPV vaccine work?
The HPV vaccine works very well. Studies in Canada and other countries with HPV vaccine programs have shown that the vaccine prevents:
  • Cancer-causing HPV infections.
  • Cervical pre-cancers.
  • Genital warts.
Do I need permission or consent from my parents to get the HPV vaccine if I’m under 19? 
In BC, people under 19 can consent to receiving a vaccine if the health care provider is sure that they understand the details of the vaccine, including the benefits and risks. This is called mature minor consent. This means you don't need your parent's or guardian's permission to get the HPV vaccine. 
Can my parents find out that I’ve gotten the HPV vaccine?
Your immunization records will not be shared with a parent or guardian unless you give permission.
What if I am a cisgender or straight male born before 2005?
Most cisgender* and straight males born before 2005 do not qualify for the free HPV vaccine. 
However, you qualify for the free vaccine until you are 27 if you are:
  • Having sex with other men (or if you are not yet sexually active and are questioning your sexual orientation).
  • Street-involved.
  • 9 to 18 years of age and in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). 
  • In a youth custody services centre.
  • Living with HIV. 
  • Transgender or non-binary.
Unless mentioned above, if you are a male born before 2005, you will need to pay for the HPV vaccine. The vaccine costs about $200 per dose. However, if you have private insurance, it may cover the cost depending on your policy. To purchase and receive the HPV vaccine, contact your local pharmacy, travel health clinic, or sexual health clinic.
*Cisgender refers to people who feel their gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth; non-trans.
What if I am older than 19?
Some people can still get the HPV vaccine for free before their 27th birthday. These are:
  • People living with HIV
  • Transgender and non-binary people
  • Men who:
    • have sex with other men (including those who are not yet sexually active and are questioning their sexual orientation),
    • are street-involved.
What if I’m older than 19, and the information above doesn’t apply to me?
  • Unless mentioned above, you will need to pay for the HPV vaccine yourself. The vaccine series costs about $200 per dose. However, if you have private insurance, it may cover the cost depending on your policy. 
  • To purchase and receive the HPV vaccine, contact your local pharmacy, travel health clinic, or sexual health clinic.

Do you still have questions about the HPV vaccine?

Browse ImmunizeBC's FAQ on HPV vaccines. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can suggest a question to be added to the FAQ.