Education Corner
HPV Vaccine

1. What is human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (also named as cervical cancer vaccine) is a prophylactic vaccine to prevent cervical cancer as well as other HPV-related cancers or diseases. Currently, there are three registered HPV vaccines in Hong Kong, namely 2-valent vaccine, 4-valent vaccine and 9-valent vaccine. All of them are prescription-only medicines, so they should only be used after clinical assessment by registered doctors.


2. How effective are HPV vaccines?

Both the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Scientific Committee and Scientific Committee on AIDS and STI under the Centre for Health Protection recommend that all three registered HPV vaccines could prevent infections from HPV types 16 and 18, which account for about 70% of all cervical cancer. By covering five additional HPV genotypes, i.e. HPV-31, 33, 45, 52, 58, the 9-valent vaccine could prevent up to 90% of cervical cancer.

The attributes and dosing recommendations of the three registered HPV vaccines available in Hong Kong





Against HPV




Indicated age

From the age of 9 years
(Female only)

From the age of 9 years 
(Both female & male)

From the age of 9 years
(Both female & male)

Diseases prevention caused by related HPV


Cervical cancer




Genital warts




Approved dose regime in Hong Kong

9-14 years old: 2 doses

15 years old and above: 
3 doses

9-13 years old: 2 doses

14 years old and above: 
3 doses

9-14 years old: 2 doses

15 years old and above: 
3 doses

Source: Consensus Statement on the Use of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine in prevention of cervical cancer, CHP (Sep 2016) 


3. How long will HPV vaccines provide protection?

Latest research has shown that HPV vaccines offer protection for at least 9 years. 


4. Who should get HPV vaccination?

HPV vaccines work best for women who have never been exposed to HPV infection. Therefore, they should work best in women who have not started sexual activities. In women who have had sexual activities, the effectiveness varies. Please consult your doctor for further information.


5. How are HPV vaccines given?

HPV vaccines can either be given as 2-dose or 3-dose schedule according to the age of the individuals. Please consult your doctor for further advice.


6. Are there any side effects from HPV vaccines?

HPV vaccines are generally safe. Common side effects are similar to those from other vaccinations, such as soreness and swelling at the injection site, fever, headache and nausea. The vaccines are not recommended for those who have had allergic reactions to any component of HPV vaccines. If in doubt, please consult your doctor for further advice.

In addition, the Department of Health has pharmacovigilance system in place to keep vigilance on the safety of HPV vaccines. 


7. Are HPV vaccines safe for pregnant women?

Because of limited data, HPV vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women. Pregnant women should consult their doctors for any queries.


8. Do I still need cervical cancer screening after HPV vaccination?

Yes, women who have received HPV vaccination still need regular cervical cancer screening because HPV vaccination does not protect against infection by the HPV types that are not found in the vaccines, nor can clear the virus in those who have already been infected.