Information on HPV vaccination
The universal human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation programme
Protecting against HPV infection to help reduce your risk of cancer
More than 280 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been given worldwide, including 120 million doses in the US and over 10 million in the UK. The HPV vaccine has been offered to all girls in school year 8 since 2010 in the Isle of Man. From September 2019 the vaccine has also been offered to year 8 boys.
This is because the evidence is clear that the HPV vaccine helps protect both boys and girls from HPV-related cancers.
The HPV vaccine helps protect you from being infected by the human papillomavirus
This virus increases the risk of developing some cancers later in life, such as:
- cervical cancer
- some mouth and throat cancers
- some cancers of the anus and genital areas
The HPV vaccine does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections.
HPV and how it spreads
HPV infection is very common. More than 70% of unvaccinated people will get it.
HPV lives on the skin in and around the whole genital area, so using condoms does not provide complete protection from HPV.
There are many different types of HPV.
Most HPV infections do not cause any symptoms and get better on their own.
Some do not clear up and can lead to cancer whilst others cause genital warts.
Having the HPV vaccine
The vaccine is given in your arm and you need 2 doses to be fully protected.
The first injection is given in year 8 and the second one is usually 6 to 12 months later. You will be informed when you are due the second dose.
To give you the best protection, the vaccine should be given before you become sexually active. If you are sexually active you should still have the vaccine.
The difference the HPV vaccine has made so far
Over 80 million people have received the vaccine worldwide.
In the time it is expected that the vaccine will save hundreds of lives every year in the UK. A recent Scottish study has already shown a 71% reduction in pre-cancerous cervical disease in young women.
Ten years since the start of the vaccination programme in the UK, there has been a big decline in HPV infections and in the number of young people with genital warts.
The HPV vaccine
Gardasil has been the HPV vaccine used in the Manx Care vaccination schedule since 2012.
Sometime during the 2021 to 2022 academic year, the HPV vaccine used in the programme will switch to Gardasil 9.
Gardasil 9 can be given for the first and second dose or to complete a course that was previously started with Gardasil.
Missed HPV vaccinations
If you missed either of your vaccinations at school, you should try and catch-up as soon as possible. Contact your school nurse or GP practice to arrange an appointment.
You remain eligible to receive the vaccine up until your 25th birthday.
Women who have had the vaccine will still need to go for cervical screening
All women aged 25 and over in England and the Isle of Man are offered cervical screening tests.
The vaccines used in the Manx Care programme will prevent anything between 70% to 90% of cervical cancer cases, but screening is still needed to pick up any other cervical abnormalities.
There are currently no screening programmes for other HPV-related cancers. If you are worried about any symptoms speak to your GP practice.
Remember to get your:
- 2 doses of HPV vaccine at least 6 months apart
- HPV vaccine now, to protect yourself against a number of cancers in the future
In time, it is expected that the vaccine will save hundreds of lives every year in the UK.
For more information about possible side effects of the vaccine or to see the patient information leaflet for the vaccine, visit gov.im/hpv.
A complete list of ingredients for the Gardasil vaccine is given in the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL).
A complete list of ingredients for the Gardasil 9 vaccine is given in the Patient Indormation Leaflet (PIL).
Public Health Isle of Man has adapted this information leaflet with kind permission from Public Health England: Information on HPV vaccination – GOV.UK
Updated: 28 July 2021