Between 2009 and 2018 more than 10 million doses of HPV vaccine were given in the UK, which means over 80% of women aged 15-24 have received the vaccination. There have been no examples of the vaccine causing serious side effects during this period. The side effects associated with the vaccine are listed below:
Very common (affecting more than 1 in 10 people at each dose):
- Pain, swelling and redness at the injection site
Common (affecting up to 1 in 10 people at each dose):
- Bruising or itching at the injection site
- Raised temperature (fever)
- Feeling sick (nausea)
Rare (affecting up to 1 in 1000 people at each dose):
Very rare (affecting fewer than 1 in 10,000 people at each dose):
- Difficulty breathing (bronchospasm)
If you are concerned about any reactions that occur after vaccination, please consult your doctor.
It is quite common for teenagers to have panic attacks before vaccination, or to faint during vaccination. These should not be confused with reactions to the vaccination itself. There is no evidence that the HPV vaccine is linked to serious side effects such as chronic fatigue syndrome, POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) or CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). More information about this is available here: results of a study by the MHRA in 2013
In the UK, the Yellow Card Scheme is used to report adverse events after medication or treatment to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). It is important that these events are monitored to identify any very rare side effects that were not detected during the clinical studies. All adverse events reported through the Yellow Card Scheme are investigated to check if they have occurred at a higher rate than would be expected for the general population. So far, the HPV vaccine has not been associated with a higher incidence of any serious adverse events than the expected general occurrence of such events.
Reactions listed under ‘possible side effects’ or ‘adverse events’ on vaccine product information sheets may not all be directly linked to the vaccine. See Vaccine side effects and adverse reactions for more information on why this is the case.