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Question

Does my 15-year-old need two or three doses of HPV vaccine?

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

Answer

If your son or daughter is getting his or her first HPV vaccine dose at age 15 or older, he or she will need three doses of HPV vaccine to complete the series. Your child should get the first dose as soon as possible, the second dose one to two months after the first dose, and the third dose six months after the first dose.

If your son or daughter received the first dose at 14 or younger, follow the guidelines below to determine to determine how many doses he or she still needs:

  • If your child received only one dose of HPV vaccine at 14 or younger, he or she only needs a second dose to complete the series. The second dose should be given six to 12 months after the first dose.

  • If your child has already received two doses of HPV vaccine (starting at 14 or younger)

    • And they were given at least five months apart the series is complete! He or she does not need a third dose…not even if the second dose was given a long time after the first.

    • And they were given less than five months apart, he or she needs the third dose to complete the series. He or she should get the third dose six months after the first dose.

CDC makes recommendations based on the best available scientific evidence. Studies have shown that two doses of HPV vaccine will provide safe, effective, and lasting protection when given at least six months apart at the recommended ages of 11–12.

  • Children ages 9–10 and 13–14 are also able to receive HPV vaccination on the two-dose schedule.

  • Teens and young adults who start the series at ages 15 through 26 years need three doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection.

  • For people aged 9–26 years with certain immunocompromising conditions three doses are still recommended.

Additional Information & Resources:


Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

​Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, is a practicing pediatrician, author, and mom in Atlanta. Dr. Shu is co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights. A frequent guest on national and local television, radio, and web-based programs, she is medical editor-in-chief of HealthyChildren.org, is the Living Well health expert for CNN.com, contributes medical information to BabyCenter and WebMD.com, and serves on the Parents magazine advisory board. ​

Last Updated
9/24/2018
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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