Alberta becomes second province to expand HPV vaccine program to boys

EDMONTON – Alberta will start including boys in free school vaccinations that protect girls from a virus that causes cervical and other types of deadly cancers.

The province says about 47,500 boys in Grades 5 and 9 are to receive the HPV vaccine starting next fall.

The vaccination was first offered to Grade 5 girls in 2008 and, since then, the province estimates about 61 per cent of girls between the ages of nine and 13 have received the shots.

The vaccine protects against human papillomaviruses, which cause cervical cancer, head and neck cancers, anal and penile cancers and genital warts.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada has been urging provincial health ministers to include boys in HPV vaccine programs.

Prince Edward Island was the first province to extend the vaccine to boys.