Cervarix and Gardasil are both cervical cancer vaccinations which immunise against types 16 and 18 of the human papillomaviruses (HPV). These viruses cause cervical cancer. Both vaccines are taken as a course of three injections over six months.
Until 2012, the UK government used Cervarix for its vaccination programme. It currently uses Gardasil.
Is Cervarix or Gardasil more effective?
Both Cervarix and Gardasil immunise against HPV types 16 and 18, which are estimated to cause 70% of cervical cancer cases. They are both equally effective at providing this immunisation.
Gardasil also protects against HPV types 6 and 11, which can cause genital warts in both men and women. Gardasil also provides protection against anal and penile cancer in men. Therefore, men, as well as women, may choose to get the Gardasil vaccination. Cervarix, on the other hand, is not licensed for use in men.
Current evidence suggests that Cervarix can reduce the risk of cervical cancer even if you have been previously exposed to HPV.
Neither Cervarix nor Gardasil provide complete protection against cervical cancer, so you must still get regular cervical screening tests. See How can I prevent cervical cancer? for more information.
How long do the vaccines last?
As both these vaccines are relatively new on the market, research is ongoing to discover how long their effects last. There is currently no indication that a booster injection will be necessary for either vaccine.
Current studies show that Cervarix lasts at least six years, and that Gardasil lasts at least four years, but it is likely that they both provide protection for considerably longer.
Is Cervarix or Gardasil safer?
Both vaccines are very safe, as they do not contain any live virus and therefore cannot cause cancer or other HPV related illnesses.
You should not have the vaccination if you are pregnant, or have certain medical conditions such as thrombocytopenia or a weakened immune system. Your doctor will check that you are suitable to have the vaccine before prescribing it to you.
Side effects from Cervarix and Gardasil are rare, but may include:
• pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
• muscle pain
Where can I get Cervarix and Gardasil injections?
Your GP can prescribe you either vaccine, or you can order them from our online service. If you choose to order your vaccine online, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire so that our doctors can assess your suitability. You will then be able to choose at which of our vaccinating LloydsPharmacy stores you want to get the injections, and book your appointment for your first one.
How much do Cervarix and Gardasil cost?
Cervarix and Gardasil both cost £399 for a course of three injections, if you buy them through our online doctor service.