Who is the HPV vaccine for and when should it be given?

The Gardasil 9 vaccine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It can be given to people age 9 and older. This vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests routine HPV vaccination at age 11 or 12. The ideal age for vaccination is before a person is sexually active.

Once a person gets HPV, the vaccine may not be as effective. That's because the vaccine's goal is to prevent a new infection. If a person has the virus, the vaccine may not help the body clear out the vaccine.

Research has shown that receiving the vaccine at a young age isn't linked to an earlier start of sexual activity.

People younger than age 15 can be vaccinated with two doses, 6 to 12 months apart.

People who start the vaccine series later, at ages 15 through 26, should get three doses of the vaccine. These shots are given over six months.

The CDC suggests catch-up HPV vaccinations for all people through age 26 who aren't fully vaccinated.

The FDA approved the use of Gardasil 9 for males and females ages 9 to 45. If you're ages 27 to 45, discuss your risks with your healthcare team. Together you can decide if you should get the HPV vaccine.