An advisory board in Australia has recommended that the federal government expand the program of providing free cervical cancer vaccines even to boys in order to minimize the risk of the sexually transmitted disease spreading.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee said that expanding the vaccination program could help widen the immunity from the human papilloma virus (HPV) and thereby further minimize the exposure of the virus to women.
Australia started the vaccination program four years ago with all girls over the age of 13 years being given Merck's Gardasil vaccine. The scheme had initially cost the government more than $450 million and has so far slashed the number of cervical cancer cases by half.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said that the government will be considering the proposal of extending the scheme and added that there were a number of tasks to be done before the proposal can be implemented.