Gardasil is an injected vaccine used for women and girls between the ages of 9-45 years old to protect against 9 of the most common high-risk human papilloma viruses. Specifically, these are the 9 forms of HPV responsible for the most common cause of cancer, pre-cancer, and genital warts.
Gardasil functions like other vaccines in disease prevention. The vaccination works best when it is done before a person is sexually active and exposed to HPV, but it still can reduce the risk of getting HPV if given after a person has become sexually active or has a +HPV test. The ideal age for HPV vaccination is age 11 years or 12 years, but it can be given starting at age 9 years and through age 45 years.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccination for children as young as 11, but may be used with children as early as 9 years of age. For those aged 9–14 years, two shots of vaccine are recommended. The second shot should be given 6–12 months after the first one. For those aged 15 years through 26 years, three shots of vaccine are recommended. The second one is given 1-2 months after the first and the third is given 6 months after the second. If the vaccination schedule is interrupted, the doses do not need to be repeated.