How to Get the HPV Vaccine Gardasil for Free or Low Cost

People who are interested in receiving the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) for free or at a reduced price no longer have to wait. Several programs are available to help cut the cost of Gardasil-9, which otherwise retails for around $250 per dose.

This includes manufacturer and governmental assistance programs covering children, teens, and adults up to the age of 45.

Young woman receiving cervical cancer vaccine
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Merck Patient Assistance Program

If you are uninsured or your insurance provider does not cover Gardasil-9, financial aid is available to eligible individuals through the Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program.

As with all patient assistance programs (PAPs), the manufacturer will provide their drug at low or no cost to those who might otherwise be unable to afford the drug.

To qualify for the program, you must:

  • Be 19 to 45 years of age
  • Be uninsured
  • Reside in the United States (although citizenship is not required)
  • Have an annual family income that is 400% or less of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) established by the Department of Health and Human Services for that year.

In 2021, you could qualify for Merck assistance if your annual income was $51,040 ($12,760 x 400%) or less as an individual, $69,680 ($17,240 x 400%) or less as a couple, or $86,880 ($21,720 x 400%) or less as a family of three.

Merck also takes special circumstances into account on a case-by-case basis. Even if you have private insurance or your insurance is subsidized through your job, Merck may make exceptions if you demonstrate hardship in paying for the vaccine.

Applying for the Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program is easy. Simply visit the Merck website and download the application. Return the completed application to your doctor's office. They will submit the application to Merck on your behalf, who will typically notify you or your doctor of their decision on the same day.

Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program

Vaccines for Children (VFC) is a federal program that provides no-cost vaccines to children or teens whose families cannot otherwise afford a vaccine. They are also the governmental mechanism that funds vaccines for Medicaid, providing as many as 40 million vaccine doses per year.

To qualify for the VFC program, applicants must be under 19 and one of the following:

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

Every state participates in the VFC program, while more than 40,000 doctors and medical clinics are on the nationwide provider list.

To find a provider in your area, call your local health department or use the online locator offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to link to the immunization coordinator in your state or area.

Community-Based Opportunities

If you don't qualify for financial assistance from Merck or the VFC program, there are other funding avenues to explore. Among them:

  • Planned Parenthood offices are often provided federal, state, ​and private grants to fund Gardasil-9 programs at no cost or low cost to their clients. Check your local Planned Parenthood office to see if such a benefit is available or if there are times of the year when free HPV vaccinations are offered.
  • Local health departments sometimes offer free or reduced-cost Gardasil-9 vaccinations. Or, they can point you in the direction of a local organization or charity that can help.
  • College or university medical clinics will sometimes provide Gardasil-9 vaccination to their students, who are vulnerable to HPV infection during their campus years.

HPV awareness campaigns are increasing at many universities, given that many college students remain unaware of the dangers of HPV or the current HPV vaccine recommendations.

A Word From Verywell

Although you may be able to get Gardasil-9 free from Merck or the VFC program, remember that you may still be charged for the doctor's office visit. Call in advance to find out or to check whether the cost can be waived (particularly with VCF providers).

The CDC currently recommends HPV vaccination for girls and boys ages 11 to 12. The vaccine can also be given to anyone 26 and under who has not been adequately vaccinated and to children as young as 9.

Even though the benefits of HPV vaccination in adults over 26 are uncertain (given that the majority of people will have gotten HPV by then), it may still be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Healthcare.gov. Federal poverty level (FPL). Updated 2021.

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vaccines for Children Program: Vulnerabilities in vaccine management. July 2012.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About VFC. Updated February 18, 2016.

  4. Kellogg C, Shu J, Arroya A. A significant portion of college students are not aware of HPV disease and HPV vaccine recommendations. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2019;15(7-8): 1760-6. doi:10.1080/21645515.2019.1627819

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV vaccine recommendations. Updated March 17, 2020.