ABOUT THE VACCINE
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
Boys (born in 2006 or later) and girls who did not get the vaccine in grade 6 remain eligible for the free HPV vaccine if they start their vaccine series before their 19th birthday and complete it before their 26th birthday.
Early protection works best
The HPV vaccine is given in grade 6 to protect children long before they are ever exposed to the virus. The vaccine also works better when given sooner because preteens produce more antibodies after HPV vaccination than older teens.
The HPV9 vaccine is also recommended and provided free to:
- HIV-positive people 9-26 years of age
- Transgender people 9-26 years of age
Cisgender* males 9 to 26 years of age who:
- have sex with other men
- are not yet sexually active but are questioning their sexual orientation
- are street-involved
Cisgender males 9 to 18 years of age in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD)
Cisgender males in youth custody services centres
Two-Spirit, transgender, and non-binary people 9-26 years of age
- Females 19 to 45 years of age
- Males 9-26 years of age (unless noted above)
- Males 27 years of age and older who have sex with men
The HPV2 vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for girls and women 9 to 45 years of age.
The HPV vaccines are given as a series of either 2 or 3 doses over a 6 month period. Children who start a series when they are 9 to 14 years of age need 2 doses given at least 6 months apart. People who start a series when they are 15 years of age and older and those with a weakened immune system need 3 doses.
HPV vaccination works
- 78% of cases of anal cancers in men caused by the two main types of HPV.
- 90% to 100% of cases of genital warts in men and women caused by 2 other types of HPV.
HPV vaccine safety
The HPV vaccine is very safe.
HPV vaccine side effects
- Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the vaccine was given.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Headache or feeling tired.
- Muscle or joint pain.
Who should not get the HPV vaccine
Where to get the HPV vaccine
- Grade 6 children get the HPV vaccine at school vaccination clinics. If your child missed getting vaccinated at school, you can contact your local health unit to make an appointment to get them vaccinated.
- Others eligible for the publicly-funded (free) HPV vaccine can get it from most pharmacies and health units. Some doctors' offices and sexual health clinics also have the vaccine.
- Those not eligible for the free vaccine can buy it at most pharmacies, travel clinics, and some sexual health clinics. Some health plans cover the cost of the HPV vaccine.
ABOUT THE DISEASE
What is HPV?
HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It is a very common virus that spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact. Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity with another person involving oral, genital, or anal contact can get HPV. Sexual intercourse is not necessary to get infected. About 3 out of 4 unvaccinated sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives.
Some HPV infections can lead to cancer and genital warts
Most often, an HPV infection will clear on its own, but sometimes it doesn't and can cause cancer over time. HPV infections can cause cancers of the cervix, anus, mouth and throat, vagina, vulva, and penis. HPV infections can also cause genital warts. There are many different types of HPV. The types that cause cancer are not the same as the types that cause genital warts.
Every year in BC, about:
- 200 women will get cervical cancer, and 50 will die from the disease.
- 6,000 women will develop high-risk changes to the cervix, which are precancerous.
- Over 450,000 women will undergo Pap tests, and over 14,000 will need further follow-up. Follow-up may include more Pap tests and other procedures to stop cancer of the cervix from developing.
- 110 people will get anal cancer, and 20 will die from the disease
- 5,500 people will develop genital warts.
HPV VACCINE VIDEOS
Video courtesy of BC Cancer.
French | Mandarin | Punjabi | Cantonese
We Can Be the First
HPV: Our Family's Story
Audra and her aunt Laura are strong believers in the HPV vaccine, for a good reason: Gisel, Audra's mother and Laura's older sister, died from cervical cancer at only 38.
HPV VACCINE POSTER
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