Australia became the first country to start providing Merck's Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine for boys under 13 years of age.
More than 900,000 boys are expected to be vaccinated over the next four years with the vaccination program likely to be expanded to include 14 and 15 year old boys over the next few months. Developed by Australian scientist Professor Ian Frazer, the vaccine can provide protection against 70 percent of cancers caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV).
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said that the move will prevent the spread of cervical cancers among women. "We know that vaccinating boys will protect them from cancer and genital warts and reduce the rates of cervical cancer among women. If there was something you could do now, as a parent, that would protect your children from a range of cancers and disease in the future when they are adults, wouldn't you do it?", she said.