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Birth Control, Pregnancy & STDs

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 or set a phone reminder 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. Schedule appointments right then, if you can — or write down the dates so you remember to set up something later.

But what if you’ve missed a shot? If you’re under age 26, you can probably catch up by getting shots that pick up where your last series left off.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, MSN, WHNP-BC
Date reviewed: November 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.