[Skip to Content]

The HPV vaccine helps prevent human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause cancer and genital warts. It works best when you get all your shots on time. The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys 11–12 years old (though kids as young as 9 also can get it) and for older kids and teens who haven’t had any HPV shots yet.

The HPV vaccine is given as a series of shots:

  • Kids and teens 9–14 years old will get 2 shots over a 6- to 12-month period.
  • Teens and young adults 15–26 years old will get 3 shots over a 6-month period. People with weak immune systems also get 3 shots, including those 9–14 years old.

How Do I Know When I’m Due for an HPV Shot?

To remember when you’re due for an HPV shot, set a phone reminder or write it on a calendar. After your first shot, ask the doctor when you need to get the next one. Schedule the visit right then if you can, or write down the date so you can set up a visit later. You also can get HPV shots at health clinics like Planned Parenthood.

What if I Missed One of My HPV Shots?

If you're younger than age 26 and missed an HPV shot, you can still catch up. Ask your doctor how to do that. People who haven’t had all — or any — of their shots can still get them up to age 45. (The vaccine is recommended up to age 26. After that, people can decide with their doctor if the shots are right for them.)

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2024