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HPV Vaccine questions

sophia Asks:

I have had my 3rd cervical cancer jab but I was on my period. Is that a problem?

The vaccines are given over 3 visits: the first visit, then in about 2 months, and the last one at 6 months from the first.  You can still safely get the shot when you are having your period.

Maria Asks:

Hi, I had the LEEP done 1 month ago. Is it adviceable to get the vaccination for HPV after the LEEP?

There are a number of factors that will help answer your question. First, your age. The vaccines are recommended in the US for women ages 9-26. Second, your sexual history.  The more sexual partners you’ve had and the earlier you initiated having sex, the more likely you are to have been exposed to the types of HPV that the vaccines protect against.  The vaccines prevent getting certain types of HPV. But if you already have the HPV, the vaccine does not clear the virus and getting the vaccine will not be very effective for you. Please talk to your healthcare provider about this question. Together you can decide whether getting vaccinated is right for you.

Ericson Asks:

If you missed the exact schedule for the third dose of hpv vaccine like a week after or a month will it still be effective? And how long it must be to be reschedule?

You should try to do your best to get the shot on time.  However, if you do not get it on time, there does not appear to be a reduced response in those who get the 2nd and 3rd doses at a later time.  Call your doctor’s office to reschedule as soon as possible.

Koel Sen Asks:

Am 23 years old.Recently I developed Genital Warts that I am treating.My query is-since I have already got Genital Warts should I be taking a vaccine(Gardasil)against both, cancer and warts or Cervarix that prevents only cancer? Will a vaccine against some strains of warts prevent them from recurring?

There are two vaccines to prevent getting certain types of HPV.  Cervarix protects against two HPV types that prevent infection by 2 HPV strains that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases. Gardasil protects against 4 types of HPV including 2 strains that cause genital warts plus the same 2 strains that cause most of the cases of cervical cancer. But if you already have the HPV, the vaccine does not clear the virus and getting the vaccine will not be very effective for you. Please talk to your healthcare provider about this question. Together you can decide whether getting vaccinated is right for you and if so, which vaccine you should have.

bhavana Asks:

Hi! I have taken one shot of the vaccination but wish to discontinue for some personal reasons. Can I do that or does it have any repercussions or side effects if you leave the course in between. Thanks

The vaccines are designed to be given in 3 doses to get the most protection against future HPV infections. If you miss the recommended time for the second or third dose, get the next dose as soon as convenient. You will likely still get all or most of the same protection that you would have gotten had you followed the recommended schedule. But if you do not get the second or third dose ever, then you will not get the full protection against HPV. You will have some protection but less than is recommended.

Linda Asks:

I've had complete Cervarix shots while I was sexually active. Can I still get vaccinated with Gardasil to be protected against other types of HPV?

It is not recommended you get both vaccinations.

Meena Khanna Asks:

Hi there,
My daughter had her first HPV vaccine on 19th Nov 2009 and then the second vaccine on the 22nd Dec 2009. She will be getting the third vaccine on the 25th June. Will this still be effective. I would really appreicate your response.
Regards,
Meena.

As you’ve noted, the recommended schedule for the HPV or cervical cancer vaccines is at month 1 for the first dose, dose 2 about 2 months later and then dose 3 at 6 months after the first dose.  If there is some variation in this schedule, your daughter is still likely to get the full or nearly full protection afforded by the vaccine.  You are to be congratulated for making sure that she gets all 3 doses. Getting all 3 doses provides greater protection than merely getting one or two doses.  A small variation in the schedule happens frequently to all of us busy people.

 

Roberta Asks:

How precisely do you have to comply with the timing of the 2nd and 3rd shots?  Does it matter if I get the second shot a week or two before the recommended time?  Would it hurt to wait two or three months to get a follow up shot if I can’t get to the doctor at the exact time?

You should try to do your best to get the shot on time.  However, if you do not get it on time, there does not appear to be a reduced response (non-inferiority) in those who get the 2nd and 3rd doses delayed.

rachel Asks:

I had my first shot last June 6 2009 . My obgyne injected it on my right butt.  I just read in your publication that it should be administered either in the arm or thigh. Is that a problem?

No- but it probably hurtJ

sabah Asks:

Will the vaccinations have any side effects in the future. Also after a set number of years will l have to redo any vaccinations.

Studies show that the vaccine is extremely safe. There is no live virus in the vaccine. The most common side effects that occur right after receiving the injection are redness and soreness where the shot was given. Headaches (like when you have a cold or fever) can also happen. Rarely, fever can also occur. Over-the-counter pain and fever medications will help if you have symptoms. As with any new vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA will continue to monitor HPV vaccination for long term effects.  One of the questions that they will be looking to answer is the same one you’ve asked, that is, how long will this vaccination last and will a booster be needed in future years.  After seven years of research, the efficacy of the vaccine appears to be lasting.                                                                                                                                                         

cristina luz Asks:

Is it safe to have the cervical cancer vaccine if I've had a vaccine like the pneumococal vaccine recently?  Do I have to wait to get it?

From what we know from studies conducted on the cervical cancer vaccine so far, it appears to be safe to get the cervical cancer vaccine along with other vaccines (co-administration).  Long term studies will continue.

Jane Asks:

Are there any side effects to the HPV vaccine?

Studies show that the vaccine is extremely safe. There is no live virus in the vaccine. The most common side effects are redness and soreness where the shot was given. Headaches (like when you have a cold or fever) can also happen. Rarely, fever can also occur. Over-the-counter pain and fever medications will help if you have symptoms. As with any new medication, safety issues will continue to be monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA.  While there are rare reports of girls or young women having complications after getting the vaccine, to date, this has not affected recommendations or approval for use of the vaccine.

Tanya Asks:

IS THERE ANY VACCINATION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN INFECTED BY HPV?

You ask whether the HPV vaccine can be given to someone who has already been diagnosed with HPV. The answer is yes, maybe.  The only vaccine currently available is Gardasil. It protects against 4 different strains of HPV; two that cause cervical cancer and two that cause genital warts. So if someone has had one of the HPV strains, but not the others, the vaccine may still offer protection against the ones that that person hasn't already had. The vaccine does not cure existing HPV infections, it is not designed or meant to be a ‘therapeutic’ vaccine.  Such vaccines are currently in clinical trials.  It is also important to remember that there are age restrictions currently for the vaccine. It has been approved for women ages 9-26. So if you are older than that your insurance generally will not pay for the vaccine. There is a three dose series costing approximately $360 for the drug plus an administration fee for each dose. Most insurance plans are currently covering it.  Your best bet is to discuss your situation with your healthcare provider before you decide to get the vaccine. 

Maureen Asks:

Do you know why older women cannot get the HPV vaccine, even if they have taken the HPV test and results show they do not have any of the cancer causing HPV virus types?

Gardasil, the only vaccine currently in the US market, was approved in June 2006 in the US by the Food and Drug Administration for girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26 and has been recommended by many organizations for routine use in 11 and 12 year old girls.  The vaccine is not approved for women over age 26 in the US.  As more data is generated on clinical trials, this may change. 

Beverly Asks:

Is it true that some women diagnosed with HPV can also get the vaccine to prevent them from getting other strains?

Yes, it is true that women who have been exposed to HPV may still get some benefit from the cervical cancer vaccine.  The maximum benefit is achieved when the vaccine is administered prior to any HPV exposure.  The vaccine is approved for women between the ages of 9 and 26.

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