Introduction: Between 2006 and 2009, two different human papillomavirus virus (HPV) vaccines were licensed for use: a quadrivalent (qHPVv) and a bivalent (bHPVv) vaccine. Since 2008, HPV vaccination programmes have been implemented in the majority of the industrialized countries. Since 2013, HPV vaccination has been part of the national programs of 66 countries including almost all countries in North America and Western Europe. Despite all the efforts made by individual countries, coverage rates are lower than expected. Vaccine safety represents one of the main concerns associated with the lack of acceptance of HPV vaccination both in the European Union/European Economic Area and elsewhere.
Areas covered: Safety data published on bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines, both in pre-licensure and post-licensure phase, are reviewed.
Expert opinion: Based on the latest scientific evidence, both HPV vaccines seem to be safe. Nevertheless, public concern and rumors about adverse events (AE) represent an important barrier to overcome in order to increase vaccine coverage. Passive surveillance of AEs is an important tool for detecting safety signals, but it should be complemented by activities aimed at assessing the real cause of all suspect AEs. Improved vaccine safety surveillance is the first step for effective communication based on scientific evidence.
Keywords: adverse events; human papillomavirus; safety; vaccine.