The program also aims to prevent warts caused by HPV. The immunization schedule provides for one dose of Gardasil® 9 in Grade 4 of primary school followed, 60 months later, by one dose of Cervarix® in Secondary 3.
These two doses produce a very strong immune system response to HPV types 16 and 18. HPV 16 is responsible for most HPV-related cancers in women and almost all cancers that affect men. Furthermore, the combination of these two vaccines also provides immunity against the seven other types of HPV in Gardasil® 9. Students with weak immune systems will need additional doses, given according to a special schedule. If this is the case for your child, the school nurse can give you more information and refer you to the CLSC for the additional doses.
Québec is the only place where these two vaccines are used for HPV immunization in children. Based on serious studies, Québec was also the only place where two doses of vaccine were given instead of three when HPV immunization was introduced in 2008. Most countries do the same as Québec now.
The manufacturer of the Cervarix® vaccine has not taken steps for this vaccine to be licensed in Canada for use in boys. It is therefore approved for use in girls and women age 9 to 45. However, scientific data, including data from a study conducted in Québec, shows that this vaccine is safe and produces a similar immune response in boys and girls. In addition, in Europe this vaccine is approved for use in boys and girls age 9 or older. Norway has been using two doses of the Cervarix® vaccine for both boys and girls since September 2018.