Queensland boys may be missing out on the life-saving HPV vaccine, with many young men failing to complete three doses of Gardasil to protect against the human papillomavirus.
Recent figures from the National HPV Vaccination Program Register show an average of 73 per cent of girls and only 60 per cent of boys completed the full course of the vaccination.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift urged parents to ensure their children were vaccinated.
“While 71 per cent of young men received the first dose, rates fell to 67 per cent and about 59 per cent for doses two and three,” Ms Clift said.
“It’s concerning to see a decline in participation rates for subsequent courses of the vaccination, particularly among young men in Queensland.
“HPV is a common virus that can be effectively prevented through vaccination – the uptake of HPV vaccinations is critical in reducing the rising trend of HPV-related cancers.
“It’s absolutely vital that all eligible young people receive the full course of the vaccine – taking preventive action against HPV is vital and could save a young person’s life in years to come.
“The HPV vaccine has almost eliminated human papillomavirus in vaccinated Australians, protecting our next generation from cervical cancer.
“Parents should check in with their child and ensure all three doses of the vaccine have been administered for best protection against HPV-related cancer and disease.”
The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes around 90 per cent of anal cancers, 35 per cent of penile cancers and 60 per cent of oropharyngeal cancers (cancer of the back of the throat, including tongue and tonsils) in Australia.*
Adolescent boys in Queensland receive the full course of the Gardasil vaccination free of charge if they receive all three doses by the end of year 11.
The State Government has also implemented a school-based catch-up program for boys in year 10 who haven’t yet started their course of three doses.
The Gardasil vaccination is most effective if administered before a young person becomes sexually active. Those eligible can also receive the vaccination through their GP.
Around 73 per cent of Queensland females turning 15 in 2014 received the full course of Gardasil – down from 82.5 per cent who received dose one, and 79.6 per cent who received dose two.
More information about the National HPV School Vaccination Program is available at hpv.health.gov.au.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
*What is HPV
**View the national HPV Vaccination Coverage data by females and males.