HPV immunisation

An immunisation is available to girls and young women in New Zealand to help protect them from cervical cancer.

It protects against infection from four types of HPV:

  • two high-risk types (16 and 18) that cause 7 out of 10 cervical cancers
  • two low-risk types (6 and 11) that cause 9 out of 10 cases of genital warts.

The vaccine causes the body’s immune system to produce its own protection (antibodies) against these four HPV types.

The vaccine also helps to protect against less common cancers, such as vaginal and other genital cancers and some mouth and throat cancers that are caused by HPV infection.

The immunisation is expected to provide long-lasting protection. As studies are ongoing, the exact period of protection is unknown. So far, they show that eight years after the immunisation, protection remains high with no sign of weakening. 

Cervical smears are still necessary

Women who have had the HPV immunisation still need to have regular cervical smears. The vaccine doesn’t protect against all the types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Go to Cervical smears for more information on cervical screening. Together, HPV immunisation, cervical screening and practicing safe sex offer the most effective protection against cervical cancer.

In this section

  • HPVs are very common viruses that cause warts and other abnormalities. Some high-risk types of HPV can lead to cancer. Read more
  • The vaccine called Gardasil® is available free for girls and young women in New Zealand, up till their 20th birthday. Find out about the vaccine’s effectiveness, how long the protection is expected to last, the safety of the vaccine and more. Read more
  • Information on where you can receive the vaccine (at school or through primary care), who is eligible to receive it for free, and how to purchase the vaccine if you’re not eligible to receive it free. Read more
  • Questions and answers about HPV immunisation, for parents, and for girls and young women. Read more