I got my first HPV shot. Am I protected or do I need to get all of them to prevent the STD?
The HPV vaccine works best when people receive all their shots on schedule:
- For kids and teens ages 9–14, the HPV vaccine is given in 2 shots over a 6- to 12-month period.
- For teens and young adults (ages 15–26), it's given in 3 shots over a 6-month period. People with weak immune systems also get 3 shots, including those 9–14 years old.
Your best bet is to keep a calendar or set a phone reminder so you remember when shots are due. After your first shot, ask the doctor or nurse when you'll need to get the next shots. Schedule visits right then, if you can, or write down the dates so you remember to set up something later.
But what if you've missed a shot? If you're under age 26, you can still catch up. Just ask your doctor about the best way to do that. Teens or young adults who didn't start or complete the series of shots can get it up to age 45. (It is recommended up to age 26. After that, a person can decide together with their doctor if it’s a good idea for them.)
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.