In a world first, Australian schoolboys will be able to receive the Gardasil vaccine, protecting them against developing a range of cancers – a move which will improve the effectiveness of the vaccine in women.
Boys aged 12 to 13 will receive the vaccine through school-based programs under the National Immunisation Program. Year 9 boys will also be able to get the vaccine at school under a catch-up program for the next two years.
Making the announcement at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek said providing the HPV vaccine to boys would protect them and increase the effectiveness of the vaccination program for girls.
Professor Ian Frazer, inventor of the vaccine, says he is pleased to see Australia leading the way with such an important public health measure.
“The addition of the HPV vaccine for young males on the National Immunisation Program is good news for the young men of Australia. This is a very safe and effective vaccine and vaccinating boys will also further benefit women who have not been vaccinated through herd immunity.”
The vaccine protects against four important genotypes of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and over 23 million people have been vaccinated in more than 70 countries around the world.
“I am encouraged to see that the introduction of the HPV vaccination program for girls, established in 2007, is already showing promising results in reducing pre-cancerous conditions.”
Professor Frazer is CEO and Director of Research at the new Translational Research Institute and is also a leading researcher in immunotherapy at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute.
Ms Plibersek said the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee had recommended last year that the HPV vaccination program be extended to boys following a review of its cost effectiveness.