What is the HPV vaccine?

Learn more about the what, why and importance of the HPV vaccine for preventing cervical cancer.

What is the HPV vaccine?

A vaccine called Gardasil 9 protects against seven human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause around 90% of cervical cancers.

The vaccine also protects against two non-cancer-causing HPV types which cause 90% of genital warts.

Who gets the HPV vaccine?

Gardasil 9 is available through the National HPV Vaccination Program where girls and boys aged 12-13 are offered the vaccine for free in schools, as a single injection.

Girls and boys aged up to 25 who missed out on the vaccine at school can obtain the vaccine for free from their local immunisation provider or doctor as part of the ongoing program. 

Do HPV-vaccinated people still need a Cervical Screening Test?

Yes, HPV-vaccinated women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25-74 still need to have a Cervical Screening Test every five years.

While the HPV vaccine is effective at protecting against some cervical cancer-causing types of HPV, it does not protect against all types of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer.

Young woman at doctor's clinic

The HPV Vaccine and the Cervical Screening Test work together to prevent cervical cancer.

All women and people with a cervix aged between 25 and 74—whether you are HPV vaccinated or not—need regular cervical screening to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.

By working together, we aim to eliminate cervical cancer by the 2030s.

Learn more about cervical screening >

When is the best time to have the HPV vaccine?

The best time to have the HPV vaccination is before a person becomes sexually active.

The HPV vaccine is not effective against an HPV infection that is already in the body. It is best to vaccinate before potential exposure to the virus through sexual contact.

More information

Visit Cancer Council's HPV vaccine website to learn more about the HPV vaccine and the National HPV Vaccination Program.

Learn more >