About Gardasil 9
What does Gardasil 9 protect me from?
Gardasil 9 immunises against the 9 strains of HPV (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58).
HPV is a virus that is usually transmitted during sex, or skin to skin contact with the genitals. The virus itself is symptomless and can often be fought off by the body within a couple of years, but can lay dormant for as long as 20 years. In some cases the virus can turn into genital warts. In other cases, the infected cells can begin to grow in an uncontrolled manner, which in turn can then become cancerous cells
The strains that Gardasil 9 protects you from are those that cause the majority of genital warts and cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina and cervix.
How Gardasil 9 works
Gardasil 9 immunises against the 9 strains of HPV (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58) that cause the majority of genital warts and cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina and cervix.
HPV is transmitted during sex, or skin to skin contact with the genitals.
The vaccine is made from proteins that mimic HPV. When the vaccine is given, the body responds by making antibodies to get rid of it. If you are then exposed to the real virus, those same antibodies prevent it from entering cells and creating an infection which can ultimately lead to warts or cancer. The vaccine does not contain any live virus, so it cannot cause cancer or other HPV-related illnesses.
If you’re not yet sexually active, Gardasil 9 can prevent up to 90% of genital warts and HPV related anogenital cancers (anus, vulva, vagina, cervix).
If you are already sexually active, Gardasil 9 can still reduce your chances of getting any of these conditions.
As Gardasil 9 does not offer 100% protection, we always advise women to have regular cervical smear tests (these detect early signs of cervical cancer).
Studies show that Gardasil 9 provides immunity for at least 8 years. It is likely that the protection lasts for much longer, but this is yet to be scientifically proven. Currently, a booster injection is not necessary.
Most patients experience no side effects. However, you may experience pain, redness, itching, bruising or swelling at the injection site, headache, dizziness, nausea, fever and tiredness. Any of these side effects should not last more than 2-3 days.
There are a few rare but serious side effects you need to know about before deciding to have the vaccine. These include difficulty breathing, encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain), Guillain-Barre Syndrome (rapid onset muscle weakness), and bleeding disorders.
Risk of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include fainting, shortness of breath, sudden drop in blood pressure and swelling of the face and neck. This is extremely rare and typically happens within 10 minutes of receiving the injection. All LloydsPharmacy staff providing this vaccination service are fully trained in managing anaphylaxis, should it occur.
Who can have Gardasil 9 injections?
Both men and women can be prescribed Gardasil 9 through our service. Men will be protected from 90% of genital warts and anal cancer, while women will be additionally protected against certain strains of cancer affecting the vulva, vagina and cervix.
Can I get a HPV vaccine if I started my course elsewhere?
Yes. If you started your course of 3 vaccines in another country or with another pharmacy/provider, you can finish your course with Online Doctor. Simply request the single dose of the vaccine when you start your consultation.
If you start your course of HPV vaccines when you’re 15 or over, you need to have all three doses to get the most protection.
Getting the Gardasil 9 injections
Request the vaccine and complete your confidential online questionnaire. One of our clinicians will check your suitability and contact you via your Patient Record.
Once your order has been approved we'll send you a link to the appointment booking form. To book your appointment you'll need to:
- Choose the same pharmacy you chose when you placed your order
- Choose an appointment for your first vaccine. You can make appointments for your other vaccines at the pharmacy after you've had the first.
- Complete the booking form entering your Online Doctor order number. This will be in your confirmation email.
Gardasil 9 is given as a course of three injections. These are usually given in the upper arm.
Do I need one, two or three doses of Gardasil 9?
To get the most protection out of Gardasil 9, you’ll need two or three doses, depending on the intervals between the vaccines.
Since April 2022, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) hast stated that two doses given at least five months apart will give similar to protection as three doses within six months.
If you’re getting the vaccine privately, through a service like ours, it’s up to you whether you get two or three doses of the vaccine.
Find out more about the HPV vaccine dosing schedule here.
How long should I allow for my appointment?
Your vaccine appointment will take approximated 15 minutes each time.
Safety: taking other medicines
You should be able to have the Gardasil 9 injections if you are taking other medicines. However, it is important that you let us know which prescription, over-the-counter medicines and recreational drugs you are taking so that we can prescribe Gardasil 9 safely.
Protection from other viruses
Gardasil 9 will only protect you from nine strains of the HPV virus, it will not protect you aginst other viruses including other viruses passes through sexual contact. We recommend that you still practice safe sex with new partners, using condoms, and that you are regularly tested for STIs. Visit our STI testing clinic for information about testing at home.