HPV vaccine for Nova Scotia boys called 'groundbreaking'
Nova Scotia is third province, behind P.E.I. and Alberta, to provide the vaccine to boys
The Nova Scotia government's decision to provide the HPV vaccine to Grade 7 boys in the province is being welcomed by the Canadian Cancer Society, which calls the move "groundbreaking."
"By having an actual vaccine to protect against these cancers, it's changing the face of cancer 10, 20, 30 years down the line for these boys and girls," said Kelly Cull, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Cancer Society.
The provincial government included $492,000 in its budget last week to cover the cost of immunizing all Grade 7 boys.
It has provided the human papillomavirus vaccine to girls since 2007. The cost last year was $693,000.
All provinces provide it to females, but Nova Scotia is only the third province — behind P.E.I. and Alberta — to provide the vaccine to boys.
In Monday's online issue of the journal Cancer, a study concluded the vaccine for boys may potentially save between $8 million and $28 million a year over the boys' lifetimes, or up to nearly $42 per person per year in costs.
In the fall, Nova Scotia politician Gordie Gosse put a human face to HPV and men when he disclosed that his doctor told him his throat cancer was caused by the virus. Gosse, who resigned earlier this month, called on the province to make sure boys gets the same vaccine as girls.
"It's a no-brainer," he said at the time.
David Napier, who has a son who will begin Grade 7 this fall, said he welcomes the announcement.
"The HPV vaccination has been offered to boys in other jurisdictions, in other places, and I think we're a little bit behind in that regard," he said. "I think it's a good thing."
So, too, does Leah Rimmer, a mother of three boys.
"I think kids should be protected and prepared and anything we can do to help them with that, I have no issue with that," she said.
The national Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended in 2012 that males between the ages of nine and 26 be immunized.