Does the HPV vaccine carry any health risks or side effects?

Overall, the effects are usually mild. The most common side effects of HPV vaccines include soreness, swelling or redness at the injection site.

Sometimes dizziness or fainting occurs after the injection. Remaining seated for 15 minutes after the injection can reduce the risk of fainting. In addition, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue or weakness also may occur.

The CDC and the FDA continue to monitor the vaccines for unusual or severe problems.

Is the HPV vaccine required for school enrollment?

The HPV vaccine is part of the routine childhood vaccines schedule. Whether or not a vaccine becomes a school enrollment requirement is decided on a state-by-state basis.

Do women who've received the HPV vaccine still need to have Pap tests?

Yes. The HPV vaccine isn't intended to replace Pap tests. Routine screening for cervical cancer through regular Pap tests beginning at age 21 remains an essential part of a woman's preventive health care.

What can you do to protect yourself from cervical cancer if you're not in the recommended vaccine age group?

HPV spreads through sexual contact — oral, vaginal or anal. To protect yourself from HPV, use a condom every time you have sex. In addition, don't smoke. Smoking raises the risk of cervical cancer.

To detect cervical cancer in the earliest stages, see your health care provider for regular Pap tests beginning at age 21. Seek prompt medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer — vaginal bleeding after sex, between periods or after menopause, pelvic pain, or pain during sex.

July 27, 2016