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Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) recommended for all boys and girls at age 11

02 February, 2017

In 2016, the Bermuda Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (BACIP) approved the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) vaccine for administration as part of the routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in Bermuda. The Department of Health is now recommending that all children aged 11 years receive the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine.

The HPV vaccine is available at the Department of Health’s Hamilton Health Centre, Monday to Friday 8.30 am – 11.30 am and is free of charge.

Human Papillomavirus is common and more than half of sexually active men and women will contract an HPV infection during their lifetime. These viruses are sexually transmitted and most people have no symptoms of the infection, which may go away without treatment, or may persist. There are multiple types of Human Papillomavirus, and the current vaccine covers four types. Due to infection, in some cases people get warts on the genitals or in the throat, and some can develop cancers, especially cervical cancer in women, and cancer of the genitals or throat of both men and women.

Many Human Papillomavirus infections may be prevented through vaccination with the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is most effective when persons are vaccinated before they become sexually active and have exposure to Human Papillomavirus. For this reason, in agreement with international best practices, the BACIP has recommended that boys and girls aged 11 years be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine.

The vaccine is safe and effective and is given as a series of three injections over six months. The most common side effects are pain and redness at the site of injection, mild fever and headache. Currently there are no booster shots recommended for the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine may also be available at your private physician’s office. You are encouraged to discuss prevention of Human Papillomavirus at your child’s next annual wellness check.