Santé et Services sociaux Québec

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Human Papillomavirus Viruses (HPV)

HPV Vaccination Program

Vaccination is an effective and safe method of protection against VPH infections and their complications.

However, the vaccine against HPV does not offer any protection against other sexually transmissible infections.

In Québec, the free vaccination program against HPV is aimed at girls between 9 and 17 years of age as well as women between 18 and 26 who have a weakened immune system or who are infected by HIV. Vaccination is mainly carried out at school, i.e. in Elementary. Using schools makes it possible to vaccinate a large number of girls more easily.

Québec’s HPV vaccination program is offered to girls in elementary school Grade 4 for the following reasons:

  • The immune system responds best to the vaccine between the ages of 9 and 11;
  • The vaccine is most effective when the person is not already infected. Since infection usually occurs during the first years of sexual activity, it is preferable that girls be vaccinated before their first sexual relations;
  • There is already a vaccination program in Grade 4 against, hepatitis B, thus avoiding undue hassle for parents.
  • In Grade 4, two doses of vaccine are sufficient. After 14 years old, three doses are required.

When the program began, the vaccine was solely intended to prevent cervical cancer and thus only girls were given the vaccine. Since then, many scientific studies show that the vaccine also protects boys against condylomas and a form of cancer of the anus associated with HPVs. We don’t yet know if vaccinating males prevents cervical cancer in their female partners. However, vaccinating a large portion of the female population results in fewer cases of condylomas for males. Vaccinating boys against HPV is recommended by Canadian experts but is not free of charge in the majority of provinces, including Québec.