Free Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations for Grade 6 boys are set to begin for the first time this school year across the province.
In the next few weeks parents and caregivers of children in Grade 6 will be notified of upcoming immunization clinics at their child’s school.
Previously, this vaccine was offered free to only Grade 6 girls based on the concept of “herd immunity”, which means if girls are vaccinated that boys in turn would be less likely to develop and/or spread the virus.
Tiffany Akins from Vancouver Coastal Health says the amount of Grade 6 girls getting the HPV vaccination led to the decision to make the vaccine free for boys as well.
“The number of people who were getting immunized, as for Grade 6 girls, weren’t reaching the levels that they had wanted, and so that is why they expanded it to include all grade 6 boys.”
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and it can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men.