February 9, 2017 6:51 pm
Updated: February 10, 2017 4:46 pm

New Brunswick commits to HPV vaccine for boys

WATCH ABOVE: On Tuesday the New Brunswick’s finance minister tabled the 2017-2018 budget increasing health care spending. The government says that also includes expanding their vaccination program to include HPV vaccinations for grade seven boys. Global's Adrienne South has the details.

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The government of New Brunswick is expanding its vaccination program to include HPV vaccinations for boys.

READ MORE: HPV-linked cancers of the mouth, throat rising among Canadian men: study

New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau said the government hopes to have the program up and running during the next school year.

The news was announced Tuesday during Finance Minister Cathy Rogers budget speech.

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“Our government is expanding the provincial vaccination program to include rotavirus for all infants, and to extend our HPV program to include boys,” Rogers said.

READ MORE: NB man calls for improved cervical cancer prevention following mother’s death

Boudreau said the 2017-2018 budget has allocated $500,000 to expand the program to include vaccinations for Grade 7 boys across the province.

“The girls have been [vaccinated] since 2008 and we felt it was an appropriate time to start providing that vaccine for boys as well,” Boudreau said.

Several other provinces have already extended the vaccine to boys.

“It’s prevention right.  The more of this we can do ahead of time, hopefully it does make it so that boys are protected from this infection moving forward,” Boudreau said.

He said it’s “not a perfect science” but the province says “it’s a step in the right direction.”

New Brunswick Medical Society CEO Anthony Knight said doctors in the province have been calling for the addition of the vaccine and said the association has written to the chief medical officer and health minister regarding the subject.

“There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that this vaccination can reduce the risk of oral cancers among young men, and by vaccinating boys in Grade 7 we believe this is an overall step forward in our public health strategy,” Knight said.

“We all know that an ounce of prevention can really make a big difference in the long term.”

He said preventing cancer risks among men will result in a higher quality of life for New Brunswickers.

Program will match what is in place for girls

Bourdreau said the program will match what they’ve been doing for girls since 2008.

READ MORE: HPV vaccine will be made available for boys in B.C.

“Every program has a start date basically, based on available funds and based on when government makes the decision to move forward, so the money is in this year’s budget and we’ll start rolling out in the next school year,” Boudreau said.

He said there won’t be any retro-activity to the program and it will only be offered to Grade 7 boys.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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