National HPV Vaccination Program - Factsheet for parents

HPV School vaccination program.

Page last updated: 11 November 2016

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A school-based vaccination program is provided to protect your sons and daughters against a range of cancers and disease caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

The free HPV vaccine is available in schools to males and females in early high school.

The National HPV Vaccination Program began in 2007 to protect against HPV infections that can lead to cancers and disease. Studies have since shown that the vaccine is proving very effective in Australia, with substantial falls in HPV infections, pre-cancers of the cervix and genital warts.

The vaccination program involves a series of three vaccinations, delivered at school over a six month period by qualified immunisation providers. The completed course will provide males and females with the best protection against a range of HPV-related cancers and disease.

Eligible children who miss a dose may be able to receive the free HPV vaccine through their school, a GP or community health clinic. Contact your child’s school, GP or state/territory health department for more information.

What is HPV?

HPV is a highly contagious virus transmitted through sexual contact, which can affect both males and females. It is estimated that four out of five people will have a HPV infection at some point in their lives.

However, HPV does not usually cause symptoms, so people infected with the virus often do not know they have it. The more harmful types of HPV can cause abnormal cells associated with a wide range of cancers, including penile, anal, cervical, vulval, vaginal and throat cancers. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts.

These types of HPV infection can be prevented by vaccination. Vaccinating males will also help to protect females from cervical cancer and HPVrelated disease by reducing the spread of the virus.

About the vaccine

The HPV vaccine provides highly effective protection against the four types of HPV that have been shown to cause the development of cancers and genital warts affecting both males and females. The vaccine has been tested to ensure it is safe for males and females, and more than nine million doses have been distributed in Australia to date.

The immunisation involves an injection administered three times over a six-month period. It is important to complete the full course of three doses to ensure the best possible protection against HPV.

Side effects

Some people might experience mild adverse effects typical of other injected vaccines: soreness, swelling, redness at the injection site, mild temperature or feeling faint. Further information on the safety of use of the HPV vaccine can be found at the TGA website.

The vaccination program includes safety monitoring to detect and manage any side effects. If you have any concerns following your child’s vaccination, contact your doctor, immunisation provider or state/territory health department.

The World Health Organization’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety continues to review the accumulating data on HPV vaccine safety and finds that the vaccine is safe, with over 10 years of data and over 200 million doses given worldwide.

For more information, or to report a side effect, visit the TGA website.

What do I need to do?

If you are a parent or guardian of a student in early high school, you will receive information about the National HPV Vaccination Program, including a consent form, from your child’s school. You will need to return the signed consent form to the school before the vaccination can be administered.

You should also:

  • Talk to your child about the importance of the vaccine and make sure they attend for all three doses
  • Contact your school if you have not received information or a consent form
  • Visit the website at Immunise Australia Program

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