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ABOUT THE VACCINE
The HPV vaccine can be given as early as 9 years of age to those at high risk of HPV exposure.
Early protection works best!
The HPV vaccine is routinely given in grade 6 so that children are protected long before they are exposed to HPV. Also, preteens produce more antibodies after HPV vaccination than older teens. This means they will be better protected against cancer later in life.
The HPV9 vaccine is also recommended and free for:
- HIV-positive people 9-26 years of age who have not received a complete series of the vaccine.
Males 19-26 years of age who are:
- Men who have sex with men (including those who are not yet sexually active and are questioning their sexual orientation).
- Street involved.
- Two-Spirit, transgender, and non-binary people 19-26 years of age.
- Women 19-45 years of age.
- Males 19-26 years of age
- Males 27 years of age and older who have sex with men.
- Children who get their first dose before their 15th birthday need 2 doses at least 6 months apart.
- People who get their first dose after their 15th birthday and those with a weakened immune system need 3 doses.
- Cancer-causing HPV infections.
- Cervical pre-cancers.
- Genital warts.
The HPV vaccine is very safe.
- Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the vaccine was given.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Headache or feeling tired.
- Muscle or joint pain.
- 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, community health centre, or pharmacy to make an appointment to get them vaccinated.
- Others eligible for the publicly-funded (free) HPV vaccine can get it from most pharmacies, health units and community health centres. Some doctors' offices and sexual health clinics also have the vaccine.
- People who aren’t 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.
- Gardasil 9 (HPV9) protects against 9 types of HPV and is free in BC for those eligible. People not eligible for the free HPV9 vaccine can purchase it at most pharmacies, travel clinics, and some sexual health clinics. The vaccine costs about $200 per dose. Gardasil 9 is approved for use in both females and males.
- Cervarix (HPV2) protects against 2 types of HPV and is not free. A small amount of this vaccine is available for purchase in BC from select pharmacies. This vaccine costs about $100 per dose. Cervarix is approved for use in females only.
ABOUT THE DISEASE
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 people will get cervical cancer, and 50 will die from the disease.
- 6,000 people will develop high-risk changes to the cervix, which are precancerous.
- Over 450,000 people 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.
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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