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The HPV vaccine is a series of shots that are publicly funded (free) for grade 7 males and females.

How effective is the HPV vaccine?

The vaccine is almost 100% effective against the four types of HPV that it targets. This includes type 16, 18, 6, and 11. These four types of HPV are known to cause 70% of cervical cancer and 90% of genital warts. Studies show that the vaccine provides good protection for at least ten years after the vaccination, and that there is no evidence of weakened protection over time. You cannot get a HPV infection from the vaccine.

The HPV vaccine protects your child from HPV.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

Females aged 9 to 45 years old and males aged 9 to 26 years old. The provincial government is funding the voluntary HPV vaccination program for all grade 7 males and females in Ontario. This means that all males and females starting in grade 7 can get the vaccine free from the Health Unit. Grade 7 was chosen as the age for vaccination because the HPV vaccine works best if given to individuals before they become sexually active. Also, individuals in grade 7 are aware of sexually transmitted infections and are better able to understand the benefits of the vaccine.

Download the School Immunization Consent form - (ENG).

How is the publically funded HPV vaccine program delivered to my child’s school?

Public health nurses will give students two separate injections at specific intervals. For the exact dates, please contact your child’s school. The nurse may delay giving the vaccine to anyone with a fever or any other illness more serious than a minor cold.

On the day your child gets vaccinated:

  • Have him/her wear a short sleeve shirt to make vaccination easier.
  • Have him/her eat a good breakfast or lunch before the clinic.

Who should not get the HPV vaccine?

Your child should not get the HPV vaccine if they:

  • Have had a serious reaction to a previous HPV vaccine.
  • Are pregnant.

Check with your health care provider if your child has an allergy or has had an allergic reaction to another vaccine, aluminum, yeast, or sodium chloride. The risk of serious illness from HPV virus is much greater than the risk of complications from the HPV vaccine.

Are there side effects from the vaccine?

The vaccine, used in Canada since 2006, may cause minor side effects that can last a day or more, such as:

  • Redness, warmth, or slight swelling at the site of the injection
  • Tiredness
  • Slight fever

Serious reactions are rare. These reactions may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of face or mouth
  • Fever over 39°C (102.2°F)
  • Hives
  • Rash

If these occur within 15 days of injection report them to your health care provider or local health unit.

What if my child misses the HPV shot at school?

The Health Unit provides HPV vaccine clinics at most school sites during the fall and spring. If your child misses an HPV vaccine clinic at their school, you can book an appointment to get their vaccine at the Health Unit. Catch-up HPV vaccine is available at the Health Unit for eligible students in high school who didn’t get or didn’t complete the HPV vaccine in grade 7.

Can my child get the HPV shot at our family doctor’s?

Publicly-funded (free) HPV vaccine is only available through the Health Unit. If given by the family doctor or at a clinic, you must pay for the vaccine. The two shots of HPV vaccine can cost between $250 and $350.

For more information, you can contact the Health Unit at 258-2146 ext. 1222.

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