Learn about Gardasil
Your future will be here before you know it. And chances are you’ve already started planning it. If those plans don’t include cervical cancer or genital warts, you should know how GARDASIL can help protect you.
What is GARDASIL? GARDASIL is the only cervical cancer vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of human papillomavirus (HPV): 2 types that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90% of genital warts cases. The duration of protection of GARDASIL has not been established.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT GARDASIL
GARDASIL is the only cervical cancer vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of human papillomavirus (HPV): 2 types that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90% of genital warts cases. GARDASIL is for girls and young women ages 9 to 26.
Anyone who is allergic to the ingredients of GARDASIL should not receive the vaccine. GARDASIL is not for women who are pregnant. GARDASIL does not treat cervical cancer or genital warts.
GARDASIL may not fully protect everyone, and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it’s important to continue routine cervical cancer screenings. GARDASIL will not protect against diseases caused by other HPV types or against diseases not caused by HPV.
The side effects include pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting. GARDASIL is given as 3 injections over 6 months
Important Questions about Gardasil
If I get vaccinated, do I still need to get Pap tests?
Yes. Vaccination with GARDASIL does not take the place of pap test (cervical cancer screenings). You should always follow your doctor or healthcare professional’s advice on getting Pap tests.
Pap tests have been proven to help save lives. A Pap test looks for abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix before they have the chance to become precancers or cervical cancer
And since GARDASIL does not protect against all types of HPV, Pap tests will still be an important part of taking control of your health—and taking care of yourself.
If I’m already sexually active, is it too late for me to get vaccinated?
No, it’s not. Only your doctor or healthcare professional can tell you if GARDASIL is right for you. But, if you’re already sexually active, you may still benefit from GARDASIL. That’s because even if you have been exposed to HPV, it’s unlikely that you have been exposed to all 4 types of the virus covered by GARDASIL.
Getting vaccinated now could help guard you against HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18 if you are exposed to them in the future.
Could I get HPV or any disease caused by HPV from GARDASIL?
No. There is no way you can get HPV or any disease caused by HPV from GARDASIL. That’s because there is no live virus in the vaccine.
Instead, GARDASIL contains a protein that helps the body’s immune system produce antibodies to help your body fight against HPV—without causing an infection.
Why is GARDASIL only for girls and young women ages 9 to 26?
GARDASIL is only for girls and young women ages 9 to 26 because the clinical trials for GARDASIL included females within this age group. GARDASIL was initially studied in this age group because the majority of women who have HPV are exposed to it in their teens and 20s.
GARDASIL works best when given before there is any contact with HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18. That’s why GARDASIL is recommended for girls as young as 9 years old.
If you are older than 26, you may still be at risk for HPV, including Types 6, 11, 16, and 18. So, be sure to continue getting Pap tests as often as your doctor or healthcare professional recommends.
What if I’m late getting my second or third dose of GARDASIL?
Ideally, your vaccination schedule should be:
- First dose: at a date you and your doctor or healthcare professional choose.
- Second dose: 2 months after the first dose.
- Third dose: 6 months after the first dose.
If you’re a few days late getting your second or third dose of GARDASIL, don’t panic. If you miss a dose, your doctor or healthcare professional will decide when to give the missed dose.
One way to make sure you’re on time for your second and third doses is to make your follow-up appointments before you even leave your doctor’s office.
What are the side effects of GARDASIL?
It’s no surprise that you want to know more about the safety of GARDASIL before being vaccinated. The safety of a vaccine is an important part of its story.
As with all vaccines, there may be some side effects with GARDASIL. GARDASIL has been shown to be generally well tolerated in women and girls as young as 9 years of age. The most commonly reported side effects include:
- Pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site
Fainting can occur after vaccination, most commonly among adolescents and young adults. Although fainting episodes are uncommon, patients should be observed for 15 minutes after they receive HPV vaccine.
Allergic reactions that may include difficulty breathing, wheezing (bronchospasm), hives, and rash have been reported. Some of these reactions have been severe.
Additional side effects reported during general use include: swollen glands (neck, armpit, or groin), Guillain-Barré syndrome, headache, joint pain, aching muscles, unusual tiredness, and generally feeling unwell
If you or your child has any unusual or severe symptoms after receiving GARDASIL, contact your doctor or healthcare professional right away. For a more complete list of side effects, ask your doctor or healthcare professional.
The safety of the vaccine is something that is being followed on an ongoing basis.
Do I need to get all 3 doses of GARDASIL from the same doctor?
You don’t need to get all 3 doses of GARDASIL from the same doctor. But you do need to follow the vaccination schedule to get the full benefits of GARDASIL.
If you know you’ll be at college or somewhere else when it’s time for your next dose of GARDASIL, that’s fine. But think about setting up an appointment now—it will save you from worrying about it later. Plus, you can make sure that your doctor has GARDASIL in stock.
Why can’t men get vaccinated with GARDASIL?
While men are at risk for HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18, GARDASIL is not approved for use in men.
GARDASIL is only for girls and young women ages 9 to 26 because the clinical trials for GARDASIL included females within this age group.
My doctor ran out of GARDASIL and had me pick up my vaccine at the pharmacy. Is this OK?
Yes. The office may not carry GARDASIL or it may have just run out. If your doctor or healthcare professional does not have GARDASIL, he or she may write you a prescription so that you can pick up your vaccine at a pharmacy and then come back to be vaccinated.
If you pick up any of your doses of GARDASIL at a pharmacy, you’ll want to bring a cooler with you. The vaccine must be stored at between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F). Do not freeze the vaccine and try to protect it from light.
When your doctor or healthcare professional writes you a prescription for GARDASIL, be sure to get specific directions about picking up and storing the vaccine.
For more information on GARDASIL, talk to your doctor or healthcare professional.