Alberta is rolling out an HPV school vaccination program for boys.

The immunization will now include boys in Grade 5 as part of the routine immunization program that began for girls in 2008.

A four-year catch-up program will also be available for boys in Grade 9.

Since the program began, the government says 61 per cent of girls in the targeted grades have received the shots.

There's no cost to students with the school-based program.

The HPV immunization is voluntary, and parental consent is required.

 The vaccine protects against human papillomaviruse, which can 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.

With files from The Canadian Press