Medical Officer of Health Commends Move to Expand Access of the HPV Vaccine to Boys

Written by admin, April 21, 2016

April 21, 2016 – Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health for Peterborough Public Health is applauding today’s announcement by Health Minister Eric Hoskins to expand access of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to boys in Grade 7 starting September 2016. The HPV vaccine is the only way to prevent HPV infections that lead to different types of cancers in both males and females.

“HPV-cancers in men have been on the increase in Canada and elsewhere – and immunization of males has been recommended by our National Advisory Committee on Immunization since 2015,” said Dr. Salvaterra. “The decision to make the vaccine available to all Grade 7 students starting in September, regardless of sex, is a step forward for public health in Ontario. We welcome Minister Hoskins’ announcement as good news for parents and for all of our youth who will benefit from this decision.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that in 2015, just over 52% of Grade 8 girls in our jurisdiction were fully immunized against HPV disease. “By moving the vaccine earlier to Grade 7, I hope to see these rates increase so that more of our children receive the benefit of this cancer-preventing vaccine,” she said.

With rates of HPV-related cancers in males on the rise, expanding access to the HPV vaccine for boys will only help continue to reduce the rates of HPV locally. According to Dr. Salvaterra, “We’ve already seen the benefits of HPV immunization here in Peterborough. We are seeing far fewer clients coming to our Sexual Health Clinics for treatment of genital warts. In the past, we had a dedicated weekly clinic for the treatment of HPV disease – we’ve been able to cancel that now that at least half of our female population is benefiting from the Gardasil vaccine.”

HPV is the name for the group of viruses that affect the skin and moist membrane parts of the body. There are over 100 different strains of HPV, with over 40 types associated with sexual transmission. Approximately 3 out of 4 sexually active Canadians will be infected with HPV at some time in their lifetime. An HPV infection causes genital warts, abnormal cell growth and can even lead to different types of cancers (cervical, penile and anal). Types of HPV (HPV-16 and HPV-18), classified as “high-risk” are responsible for 70% of all cervical cancers in women and 90% of anal cancers in men.

For more information about the Ontario HPV Vaccination Program, call ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-866-559-4598 or contact Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000, ext. 131.

The Peterborough County- City Public Health serves all residents in the City and County of Peterborough, and Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations. Please note on June 1, 2016, the agency will change its name to Peterborough Public Health and will continue to deliver the same public health programs and services throughout the community.


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391