Gardasil to be rolled out for boys

AUSTRALIAN schoolboys aged between 12 and 13 next year will be the first in the world to be offered Gardasil vaccine, about six years after it was first delivered to girls.

Boys in Year 9 will also be eligible through a "catch-up program".

Gardasil creator Professor Ian Frazer said vaccinating boys against the Human Papillomavirus would provide even more protection for girls through herd immunity.

"The papillomavirus is responsible for some of the cancers inside the mouth and throat along with cancers of the genital tract," he said.

"The vaccine also protects against genital warts which is a very common, sexually-transmitted infection.

"I am encouraged to see that the introduction of the HPV vaccination program for girls, established in 2007, is already showing promising results in reducing precancerous conditions."

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the vaccine was the best method available to protect against HPV-related cancers.

"Already the HPV vaccine has had an impact, significantly reducing the number of lesions that lead to cervical cancer among women in the vaccinated age group," she said.

"It is estimate that a quarter of new infections will be avoided by extending the vaccine to boys.

The four-year scheme will cost $21.1 million, funding not just the immunisation but also an information campaign, vaccine register and monitoring adverse reaction.

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