Gardasil is an HPV vaccine with a low risk of side effects. However, it is linked to reports of autoimmune disease, neurological side effects, allergic reactions, miscarriage, and death.
Gardasil® is an immunization against sexually-transmitted infections with Human Papillomavirus (HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18).
Gardasil is a recombinant vaccine made by Merck & Co. that was approved in 2006. It helps protect against cervical cancer, vulvar and vaginal cancer, anal cancer, and genital warts in boys and girls.
The original Gardasil is no longer sold. It has been replaced by Gardasil 9, a new version that protects against 9 types of HPV (16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58).
Gardasil is given as a 0.5-mL injection (shot), usually in the upper arm muscle. Three shots are recommended for boys and girls between the ages of 9-26 years old, with one shot given on the following schedule:
- Dose 1: At a date you and your doctor choose
- Dose 2: 2 months after Dose 1
- Dose 3: 6 months after Dose 1
Do NOT get Gardasil if you had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of Gardasil or any other ingredients in the vaccine (yeast, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, polysorbate 80).
- Pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at the injection site
In girls and woman, the risk of fever between 100ºF and 102ºF was 3.7% (Dose 1), 4.1% (Dose 2), and 4.4% (Dose 3). The risk of fever over 102ºF was 0.3% (Dose 1), 0.5% (Dose 2) and 0.5% (Dose 3).
In boys and men, the risk of fever between 100ºF and 102ºF was 2.4% (Dose 1), 2.5% (Dose 2), and 2.3% (Dose 3). The risk of fever over 102ºF was 0.6% (Dose 1), 0.5% (Dose 2) and 0.5% (Dose 3).
The following severe side effects have been reported in people who received Gardasil, but it is unknown if they were caused by the vaccine:
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Allergic reaction
- Arthralgia (joint pain)
- Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
- Autoimmune diseases
- Blood clots
- Celiac disease
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome
- Hypersensitivity reactions
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
- Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes)
- Motor neuron disease
- Myalgia (muscle aches)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Neurological complications
- Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)
- Speech problems
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Tonic-clonic limb movements
- Transverse myelitis
The ingredients in Gardasil are proteins of HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, yeast protein, sodium chloride, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium borate, and water for injection.