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 4 types of HPV:

  • 2 high-risk types (16 and 18) that cause 7 out of 10 cervical cancers
  • 2 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 4 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 8 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 is free for girls and young women until their 20th birthday. Find out about vaccine effectiveness, how long the protection is expected to last and more. Read more
  • Information on where you can have the vaccine (at school or through primary care), who is eligible to get it for free, and how to purchase it if you’re not eligible. Read more
  • Questions and answers about HPV immunisation, for parents, and for girls and young women. Read more