Australian schoolboys will have access to the Gardasil vaccine to protect them against the highly contagious human papillomavirus (HPV), following the success of the vaccination program for girls.
The vaccine will be provided next school year for 12 and 13-year-old boys through school-based programs, and will also be available to Year 9 boys for the next two years under a catch-up program.
The vaccine's inventor, former Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer, says, "The papillomavirus is responsible for some of the cancers inside the mouth and throat along with cancers of the genital tract. The vaccine also protects against genital warts, which is a very common sexually transmitted infection."
Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek says extending the vaccine to boys will not only protect them, but bolster the effectiveness of the vaccine in girls.
"Already the HPV vaccine has had an impact – significantly reducing the number of lesions that lead to cervical cancer among women in the vaccinated age group," she says. "It is estimated that a quarter of new infections will be avoided by extending the vaccine to boys."
For more information, visit immunise.health.gov.au.