Battlefords area Grade 6 male students will be able to join their female classmates this year to receive immunization to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV).
“This is really a response to a public push to offer the same protection to boys as girls,” said Prairie North Regional Health Authority Public Health nursing clinical supervisor Trina Cappelle.
“I think it’s really positive that the province has listened, and that we’re able to provide the same for both the boys and the girls this year. We know that many parents are already aware of the benefits.”
The HPV vaccine helps prevent against certain cancers, including cervical cancer, genital cancer and cancer of the mouth and throat.
The public health nurses will be in the schools for the first round of Grade 6 immunizations in late September, or in October.
Parents will need to give their consent before their child can be immunized for HPV, or any other vaccine in the schools.
Both boys and girls whose parents have provided consent will be immunized for HPV along with the other routine Grade 6 immunizations, said Cappelle. The boys and the girls will be immunized at the same time.
Information packages were to be sent to parents about the vaccine program.
"They can also call their local Public Health office and ask to speak to a nurse if they have further questions," Cappelle said. "I think they should get all the information they need from the package. But if they need more information we are happy to help.”
She said for every student that can be protected through immunization that is one more success.
For the program for girls that started in 2008, the participation has been gradually increasing.
"We suspect that it will be well accepted by parents, and our uptake will be good,” Cappelle said of the program for boys.
“It can take some time, but with the boys’ [program] the vaccine isn't new, so I don’t suspect it will take as long to see the majority taking it.”
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