The HPV vaccine is now offered to boys as well as girls to protect all young people from being infected by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It also lowers the risk of developing some cancers later in life, such as:

  • cervical cancer
  • some mouth and throat cancers
  • some cancers of the bottom and genital areas.

The HPV vaccine does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections.

Great news! The evidence indicates that one dose of the HPV vaccine is just as effective as two at providing protection from HPV infection. As a result, the HPV vaccination program changed to 1 dose from 1 September 2023.  You can find more information in the meantime here or here.

How does my child get this vaccination?

When your child reaches eligible age (currently Year 8) you will be sent an email via your school to complete an online decision form. Please complete this decision form as soon as possible so that your child is able to receive their vaccination at the arranged school session.

Vaccination Consent (somersetsaint.co.uk) each school has an individual school code to obtain this please email somersetsaint@somersetft.nhs.uk 

If your child is not educated in a school setting, please contact Somerset SAINT on 0300 323 0032, to book into one of our community sessions. If you have not received an email with a link to the decision form then please contact Somerset SAINT to request one.

On the day

We ask that on the day of vaccination your child wears short sleeves that allow easy access to their upper arms, or wears a vest or t-shirt under their school shirt. Privacy in schools is often limited and it can be embarrassing for young people to have to remove clothing to be vaccinated.  We also need them to eat breakfast and be well hydrated before they are vaccinated.

Once your child has been vaccinated, we send that information to Child Health in Somerset. The information is then passed to your child’s GP.

Can we help?

If you have any concerns about this vaccination, for example if you are worried because your child is needle phobic, has additional needs,or you want to ask any questions please do contact us on 0300 323 0032 and we can arrange for you to speak to one of our immunisation nurses.

For more information please see the link below



Frequently Asked Questions – On HPV and the Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions – On HPV and the Vaccine


What is HPV?

HPV refers to a group of very common viruses, called the human papillomavirus, which live in the skin in and around the genital area. HPV infections can happen in girls and boys – and they mainly affect the mouth, throat or genital area. There are more than 100 types of HPV – most are harmless and clear on their own.


Some types however are considered ‘high-risk’ because they’re linked to the development of cancers, including cervical cancer, cancers of the head and neck and cancers of the anus and genital areas. Other types can cause warts and verrucae.


How is HPV spread?

HPV infection is very common. Most people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives – 70% of unvaccinated people will get it. HPV is easy to catch and does not usually cause any symptoms. It can be passed on by any skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, including vaginal, anal or oral sex.


Using a condom does not provide complete protection against HPV as HPV lives on the skin in and around the genital area. The best protection against HPV is by getting the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccination does not protect against other infections spread during sex, such as chlamydia, and it will not stop girls getting pregnant so it’s still very important to practice safe sex.


Why should I get the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine helps protect girls and boys against some of the highest risk types of HPV that can lead to HPV- related cancers, including cervical cancer, cancers of the head and neck and cancers of the anus and genital areas. It also helps protect against genital warts.


Over 280 million people worldwide have received the HPV vaccine, including over 10 million in the UK.


Studies have shown the vaccine to be very effective at preventing HPV infections and it is expected that the vaccine will save hundreds of lives every year in the UK. Since its introduction, cases of HPV infection and genital warts have decreased in the UK. As it can take many years for cancers, such as cervical cancer, to develop after HPV infection, it will take some time to find out the overall benefits of the programme. However, recent studies into cervical cancers show positive signs.


A recent Scottish study found an 89% reduction in severe cervical abnormalities in vaccinated women. Also, a study published in The Lancet in 2021 found that cervical cancer rates in England were 87% lower in young women who had been eligible than in

women born earlier who were not eligible. Overall, the study estimated that

the HPV programme had prevented about 450 cancers and 17,200 pre-cancers up to mid-2019.


Why do children need to get the HPV vaccine at such a young age?

The HPV vaccine works best if girls and boys are given the vaccine before they come into contact with HPV. As HPV is most commonly spread during vaginal and anal sex and close skin to skin contact, in order to give the best protection, the vaccine should be given before someone is sexually active. This means that they will be protected against HPV throughout their teenage years and into their adult life. If someone is already sexually active, they should still get the HPV vaccine.

Does getting the HPV vaccine mean I am protected from all HPV – related cancers?

The HPV vaccine protects against 9 types of HPV (6,11,16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58). These types of HPV cause the majority of cervical cancers, most anal cancers and some genital and head and neck cancers. The HPV vaccine will prevent up to 90% of cervical cancer cases.

Studies have shown that the vaccine protects against HPV infection for at least10 years, although experts expect protection to last for much longer.

What vaccine will I receive, is it safe and how is it given?

The vaccine Gardasil 9(by Merck) is currently used in the NHS vaccine programme, which protects against9 types of HPV (6,11, 16, 18, 31,33,45,52 and 58) which cause most cervical, anal, genital and head and neck cancers. The HPV vaccine has been used worldwide for many years in countries such as Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and most of western Europe.

In order for a vaccine to be licensed for use in the UK, it has to be proven to be safe and effective, and shown to have benefits that outweigh any risks. This is proven through clinical trials. Clinical trials and safety data continue to show that Gardasil 9 is very safe and effective.

The vaccine is given as an injection in the upper arm. As with all medicine and vaccines, there are some mild side effects associated with the HPV vaccination such a pain, swelling and redness at the site of injection and a mild headache. For more information on Gardasil 9 and possible side effects, please refer to the Patient Information Leaflet.


Is there anybody who should not have the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine should not be given to people who have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine or any of its ingredients or are known to be pregnant. HPV vaccination should be delayed for people who are unwell and have a high temperature or are feeling hot and shivery. This is to avoid confusing the symptoms of the illness with the response to the vaccine. There’s no reason to delay vaccination for a mild illness, such as the common cold.


Why do boys now need to get the HPV vaccine?

Boys can also get infected by HPV which can lead to HPV-related cancers that affect them – including anal, genital and head and neck cancers.


In September 2019, the HPV vaccination programme became universal and was also offered to boys based on advice from the JCVI that the extension could help prevent more boys and girls from getting HPV-related cancers.


A catch-up programme was not put in place for boys as evidence showed that they had already benefitted greatly from the indirect protection (herd immunity) that had built up from 10 years of the girls’ HPV vaccination programme.


Frequently Asked Questions – On the Vaccine Schedule


Why does the number of doses required keep changing?

The HPV routine adolescent vaccine programme has been subject to a lot of changes over the years due to emerging evidence that is continually reviewed by independent scientific experts. Changes to the programme are based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and subsequent policy decisions by DHSC.


The initial offer in September 2008 was for 3 doses of the HPV vaccine to be given to girls aged 12-13 to help protect them against developing cervical cancer. In 2014, the programme changed to a 2 dose schedule for those aged 15 and under based on evidence that the immune response to 2 doses was similar to 3 doses.


The advice to move to one dose from 1 September 2023 for those aged 25 and under, is based on there being enough evidence (even more than the previous move from 3 to 2 doses due to including efficacy data) which shows that one dose is just as effective at providing protection from HPV infection. This was considered alongside the benefits of a one dose schedule being easier to implement and reducing the needle burden in adolescents. For the full JCVI advice, read here.


Has the timing of the first HPV dose changed?

There are no changes to the delivery of the first HPV dose. Students will continue to be offered the HPV vaccine in Year 8 when they become eligible but will no longer be offered a second dose. The vaccine will continue to be delivered in the same way in school vaccination sessions, and there will also be catch-up opportunities for anyone who misses their school sessions.


Why are different groups still eligible for different doses – why does everyone not receive 1 dose under the new schedule?

The recommended move to one dose in the routine adolescent programme is based on JCVI advice that one dose is just as effective at providing protection from HPV infection as two doses for those aged 25 and under. Those that are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system are still recommended to have three doses to make sure that they can get the most benefit from the vaccine.


Frequently Asked Questions – On Consent for the Vaccine


My child is in Year 8 and I have already consented for both doses. Will my child still receive the 2nd vaccination?

The latest evidence shows that one dose is just as effective at providing protection from HPV infection, and going forward children will only need one dose of HPV to be fully protected. This means children from the 1st September 2023 who have already received their first HPV dose will be considered fully vaccinated and will not require any further doses.


I would still like my child to receive the 2nd dose in Year 9, is this possible?

The move to a one-dose schedule is a national recommendation made by the JCVI and is based on strong evidence which shows that one dose is just as effective at providing protection from HPV infection. All children who will be moving into Year 9 in the 23/24 academic year will therefore be considered fully vaccinated, and a second dose is no longer clinically recommended. If you understand that there is no clinical benefit to receiving a second dose but would still like your child to receive it because we offered a two-dose course originally, we can arrange this for you.

Community Clinics 2024



All clinics below are appointment only.

For an appointment, please contact 0300 323 0032 or email somersetsaint@somersetft.nhs.uk detailing your child’s name, date of birth, school and your preferred clinic location.


DAY DATE Appointment times




(Full venue details will be given upon appointment confirmation)


Tuesday 2nd April 09:30 – 14:30 Taunton
Wednesday 3rd April 09:30 – 14:30 Bridgwater
Thursday 4th April 10:00 – 14:00 Minehead
Friday 5th April 09:30 – 14:30 Shepton Mallet
Monday 8th April 09:30– 15:00 Yeovil
Tuesday 9th April 09:30 – 14:30 Glastonbury
Wednesday 10th April 10:00 – 14:00 Frome
Thursday 11th April 09:30 – 11:30 Chard
Thursday 11th April 13:30 – 14:45 South Petherton
Friday 12th April 09:30- 15:00 Taunton
Wednesday 31st July 09:30 – 14:30 Taunton
Thursday 1st August 09:30 – 14:30 Yeovil
Friday 2nd August 09:30 – 14:30 Shepton Mallet
Friday 2nd August 09:45 – 14:15 Frome
Tuesday 6th August 09:30 – 14:30 Glastonbury
Wednesday 7th August 10:00 – 14:00 Minehead
Friday 9th August 09:30 – 14:30 Wellington
Monday 12th August 09:30 – 14:00 Chard
Tuesday 13th August 10:00 – 14:00 Cheddar
Wednesday 14th August 09:30 – 14:30 Wells
Thursday 15th August 09:30 – 12:30 Taunton
Friday 16th August 09:30 – 14:00 Wincanton
Monday 19th August 09:30 – 14:30 Yeovil
Tuesday 20th August 09:30 – 14:30 Bridgwater
Wednesday 21st August 09:30 – 14:30 Burnham-On-Sea
Friday 23rd August 10:00 – 14:00 South Petherton