Ontario is expanding its publicly funded immunization program to help protect more youth from Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and related cancers. Beginning September 2016, Ontario will offer the cancer-fighting HPV vaccine to boys as well as girls.
Currently, the HPV vaccine is offered free of charge in Ontario schools to girls in Grade 8. Under the expanded program, the province will start offering the vaccine to all students in Grade 7. Female students beginning Grade 8 in the transitional 2016-2017 school year will still be able to receive the two-dose HPV vaccine in school-based clinics to ensure they don’t miss the opportunity to be immunized.
“The HPV vaccine gives us an opportunity to protect the next generation from Canada,” Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives Canadian Cancer Society Rowena Pinto said. Expanding the school-based HPV immunization program to include boys and offering the vaccine to students in Grade 7 falls in line with current scientific and expert recommendations including Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Approximately 154,000 school-aged youth will be eligible to receive the HPV vaccine every year as a result of these changes.
HPV is a very common virus worldwide, and can lead to different kinds of cancer in females and males. The HPV vaccine can best prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers if received at a young age.