Since 2008 in Québec, vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) is recommended for girls, since it is recognized as an effective and safe means of preventing cervical cancer.
However, these viruses cause several other health issues that affect men as well as women. In 2016, the program has therefore been expanded in order to extend protection against the consequences of these infections to a larger number of people.
Children in Grade 4
The vaccine against HPV infections is included in the Québec Immunisation Program’s immunisation schedule. The vaccine is offered for free to girls, and starting September 1, 2016, to boys in Grade 4. The vaccine is given in Grade 4 for several reasons:
- The immune system responds best to the vaccine between ages 9 and 11, which corresponds to Grade 4.
- The vaccine is most effective when the recipient is not already infected. Given that the infection usually occurs during the first years of sexual activity, ideally, young people should receive the vaccine before their first sexual relationships.
- A program for the hepatitis B vaccine is already provided for Grade 4 students. Giving these 2 vaccines at the same time spares parents the effort of having to go get their child vaccinated several times.
- Two doses of the vaccine are enough for young people in Grade 4, whereas 3 doses are necessary after the age of 18.
- The vaccine is given to girls and boys in order to fairly provide direct protection to all young people.
Under the Québec Immunisation Program, the following people can also be vaccinated against HPV infections free of charge:
- Girls aged 9 to 17
- People aged 26 or under who:
- Have a weakened immune system
- Are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Since January 1, 2016, men aged 26 or under who have or plan to have sex with men
Last update: 22 September 2016, 14:21