Ontario Expanding HPV Vaccine Program to Include Boys
Expanding Ontario’s Immunization Program to Help Protect Against Cancer
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.
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.
Helping to protect young people from infections and cancers caused by HPV is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that's sustainable for generations to come.
- Eligible youth who are unable to begin or complete the HPV vaccine series in Grade 7 will remain eligible to catch-up on missed doses, free of charge, until the end of Grade 12.
- HPV can cause both benign and malignant disease. HPV in Ontario has been estimated to cause an average of 254 deaths and 1,090 cases of cancer every year.
- The HPV vaccine is safe. It has been approved by Health Canada and recommended for use by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
- The HPV vaccine is approved for use in over 100 countries. Over 175 million doses have been distributed worldwide.
“Helping to protect Ontarians against cancer is part of our government’s plan to build a successful and vital province. Expanding access to the HPV vaccine to include boys is an evidence-based decision and it is the right thing to do. This expansion is part of Immunization 2020 – our government’s five-year plan to improve the health of Ontarians by increasing access to live-saving vaccines.”
“Getting vaccinated at a young age is an important investment in long-term health. By expanding Ontario’s routine, school-based HPV immunization program to include boys and offering the program a year earlier, the province will be protecting more youth from HPV-related cancers at an age when the vaccine can be most effective.”
Dr. David Williams
“The HPV vaccine gives us an opportunity to protect the next generation from cancer. Expanding the Ontario school-based HPV vaccination program to also include boys is an essential part of a comprehensive cancer prevention strategy.”