Gardasil

This vaccine protects against human papillomavirus (HPV).

Ingredients:

Active ingredient:

This vaccine uses proteins from 9 strains of HPV as antigens (not whole virus). You cannot get HPV from the vaccine. 

 

These proteins allow the immune system to make antibodies that teach your body how to respond if it is exposed to the virus in the future

  • HPV Type 6 L1 protein 

  • HPV Type 11 L1 protein

  • HPV Type 16 L1 protein

  • HPV Type 18 L1 protein

  • HPV Type 31 L1 protein

  • HPV Type 33 L1 protein

  • HPV Type 45 L1 protein

The HPV vaccine is a recombinant protein vaccine: the information for how to make specific proteins is inserted into the genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is yeast.

The yeast produce the proteins, which are used as the active ingredients in the vaccine. The proteins act as antigens that allow the immune system to make antibodies against HPV. Because these are proteins, not whole bacteria, you cannot get HPV from the vaccine.

Note: This vaccine contains a small amount of yeast because it is used in the manufacturing process, but even people with yeast allergies can safely receive this vaccine. If you have concerns about a yeast allergy (or an allergy to any other ingredient), please contact your doctor.

Inactive ingredients:

Salts: help maintain the stability and pH of the vaccine

Adjuvants: strengthen the immune response to the vaccine

Other:

Relevant Terms

  • Adjuvant: a compound added to some vaccines to strengthen the immune response

  • Antibody: a protein made by the immune system in response to a foreign particle (antigen). These proteins circulate in the blood and help defend the body against the substance.  

  • Antigen: This is any substance that triggers the immune system to create antibodies. For example, allergens such as pollen are antigens.

  • Emulsifier: a substance that helps to keep the ingredients mixed together

  • pH: a measure of how acidic or basic a solution is. The scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very basic). A pH of 7 is neutral.