Do I Have to Get All Three HPV Vaccine Shots?

Can HPV be prevented after having two of the vaccine shots? Or are all three necessary to completely prevent the STD?

The HPV vaccine works best when people receive all three shots on schedule. Scientists don't yet know how much protection someone has after just one or two shots.

Your best bet is to keep a calendar 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. Then schedule an appointment if you can or write down the dates so you remember to set up something later. You also could put a reminder in your phone or sign up for online reminders — whatever works for you.

But what if you've missed a shot? Contact your doctor or clinic for advice on when to get the missed dose.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010

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