Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

Gardasil® 9

Gardasil® 9 protects against 9 types of HPV and is included in the publicly funded immunization schedule.

What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

  •  HPV is a group of viruses that are very common, affecting three out of every four sexually active people some time in their life
  • In most cases, HPV infections go away on their own within a few months, but sometimes the HPV infection doesn’t go away
  • HPV can cause certain types of cancer and diseases in both men and women.  For example, HPV causes essentially all cases of cervical cancer as well as other cancers (anal, genital, mouth and throat) and genital warts
  • HPV is spread by sexual skin-to-skin contact. Most infected people have no symptoms but can infect others
  • The HPV vaccine is the only vaccine available that prevents cancer

Who should get HPV vaccine?

  • The vaccine works best when given during adolescence and before boys and girls are exposed to HPV
  • The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and women between the ages of 9 and 45, and for boys and men between the ages of 9 and 45. For women and men older than 45, talk to your healthcare provider to see if you would still benefit from HPV vaccination. Please note this vaccine is publicly funded or free through the school-based vaccine program.
  • Even if you are already sexually active you can still get the vaccine. You may not have been exposed to one or more of the types of HPV that the vaccine protects against
  • Some people may be at higher risk of HPV infection and eligible for free vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are eligible

Talk to your doctor/public health nurse if you:

  • Had a bad reaction to a vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine
  • Had a serious reaction to yeast or have any other allergies
  • Are pregnant
  • Take medications or have any diseases that lower the immune system or increase bleeding
  • Feel very sick

What if a needle is missed?

  • Get the next needle as soon as possible

What if I decide not to be immunized?

  • Choosing not to be immunized or delaying immunization puts you at risk of getting HPV as well as certain types of cancer and genital warts

Is HPV vaccine safe?

Yes!  You may have no reaction or mild symptoms that include:

  • Redness, swelling,  and pain where the needle went in
  • Low fever
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired

These normal reactions usually last between 12 and 24 hours.

When should I call my doctor?

Serious reactions after vaccination are very rare.  Get immediate medical help if you/your child have any unusual symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing, swelling in your face/mouth and/or blotchy skin (hives)
  • fever above 40°C (104°F)
  • worsening swelling, redness, and/or pain where the needle went in

You know best.  If you notice anything that is not normal after a vaccination, check with your healthcare provider.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.


  • Make sure to update your immunization record
  • Notify the Health Unit each time your child receives a vaccine by phone (519-753-4937 ext. 451) or online

Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian Immunization Guide)Publicly Funded Schedules for Ontario

This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. Please note there is a cost for immunizations that are not included in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 451 or