Further to the Ministry of Health’s announcement in January 2017, regarding the expansion of the HPV immunization program to Grade 6 boys in British Columbia, the ministry has entered into a settlement with Nelson and Elliot Roy to resolve their human rights complaint.
Nelson and Elliot filed a human rights complaint on Feb. 17, 2015, because the girls in their Grade 6 class received the HPV vaccine free as part of a school-based immunization program, but the boys were not eligible for the same free immunization.
The Ministry of Health has expanded the publicly funded HPV vaccine program throughout British Columbia through a school-based program, to include Grade 6 boys and girls beginning September 2017. The HPV vaccine can also be requested through health-care providers and local public-health units. British Columbia has a “once eligible, always eligible” policy for those who miss routinely scheduled immunizations. Therefore, in the future, boys who miss receiving their HPV immunization in Grade 6 will, like girls, continue to be eligible to receive the vaccine through their pharmacist or a public-health unit until they are 26 years of age.
The Gardasil 9 vaccine will be used in this HPV program for both girls and boys. The vaccine is provided as two doses given at least six months apart. The vaccine provides protection against nine types of HPV. This includes the types of HPV that cause about 90% of cervical cancers and other HPV-related cancers such as cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, mouth and throat. It also protects against two types of HPV that cause about 90% of cases of genital warts.
HPV is one of the most-common sexually transmitted infections. Three of every four Canadians will be infected with HPV at some point in their lifetime. HPV is an infection that can lead to cancer in both men and women. Every day, one Canadian woman dies of cervical cancer and rates of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers are rising among men. It is estimated that the HPV vaccine could prevent up to 90% of these cancers, and a comparable proportion of the potentially precancerous high-risk changes to the cervix.
To learn more about B.C.'s immunization program, including school-age vaccinations, visit: http://immunizebc.ca/get-vaccinated
To learn more about HPV, visit: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/hpv-genital-warts
Ministry of HealthCommunications
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