Free vaccinations at school to prevent serious illness

Parents of eligible high school students are being urged to ensure their children are vaccinated to protect them from human papillomavirus (HPV). 

Boys and girls in Year 7 are offereda  free Gardasil vaccination to protect them against human papillomavirus (HPV) through school vaccination programs.

Year 9 boys will also be offered Gardasil as part of a catch up program this year as they were not vaccinated in Year 7.

Population Health Services Specialist Medical Advisor Dr Scott McKeown said vaccinating against HPV was the best way to prevent HPV-related cancers and disease.

"The decision to vaccinate your child could be lifesaving," Dr McKeown said.

"Year 7 girls and boys, and Year 9 boys should take part in the school vaccination program this year.

"HPV can cause anal and penile cancer in men, and cervical, anal and vaginal cancer in women, and genital warts in both.

"The Gardasil vaccination provides protection against the common strains of HPV strains before young people become sexually active."

Gardasil has been available to girls since 2007 and to boys since 2013.

Dr McKeown said Gardasil was shown to be safe and effective in preventing common types of HPV infections.

Three doses over six months are needed for best protection against HPV.

All routine school-based adolescent vaccinations, including the whooping cough vaccine, are now offered to students in Year 7 to avoid the risk of students missing a vaccination if they move from a primary school to a secondary school in a different area.

Dr McKeown said Population Health Services would work with local councils and schools to ensure the vaccination program was rolled out safely and effectively. For more information visit www.hpvvaccine.org.au