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Question

How many doses of HPV vaccine does my 11-year-old son need?

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

Answer

If your son will be getting his first dose of HPV vaccine at age 11, he needs only two doses total of HPV vaccine given six to 12 months apart for long-lasting protection against HPV cancers. He should get the first dose as soon as possible and his second dose within six to 12 months of the first dose.

If your son has already received one or two doses of HPV vaccine, follow the guidelines below to determine how many doses he still needs:

  • If your son has received one dose of HPV vaccine, he should get the second dose six to 12 months after he received the first dose to complete the series.

  • If your son has already received two doses of HPV vaccine

    • And they were given at least five months apart---The series is complete! He 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 needs the third dose to complete the series. He should get the third dose six months after the first dose.

CDC now routinely recommends a two-dose HPV vaccine schedule for 11- or 12-year-old boys and girls to prevent HPV cancers.

  • 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 need three doses of HPV vaccine.

  • 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 serves as medical editor for 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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