YouthCO welcomes the recent announcement from The Honourable Health Minister Terry Lake that British Columbia will expand its free HPV vaccination program to include vulnerable boys and young men. We are excited to know that many of the youth we work with will soon be able to access HPV vaccinations as part of this expansion.
Today's announcement is an important step towards equitable access to HPV vaccinations for those of us who need them.
YouthCO's Executive Director, Jesse, was in the studio at GlobalBC speaking about our reaction to the announcement that BC will expand access to the HPV vaccine to include vulnerable boys and men up to the age of 26.
In light of this most recent expansion, YouthCO will continue to advocate for youth of all genders and sexualities who may come into contact with HPV to be able to access vaccinations. Specifically, we believe:
- Youth of all genders, including boys and gender non-binary students, should be included in existing school vaccination programs currently being implemented for girls only
- HPV vaccinations should also be available free of charge to those of us living with HIV and Hep C
- Clinicians, including nurses at sexual health clinics, should be able to provide the vaccine to youth of all genders, including trans and gender diverse youth, who would benefit from it based on sexual activity
The HPV vaccine is an important preventive investment for all people, not solely the populations who are included in the current existing provincial program. 75% of sexually active Canadians will have a HPV infection acquired through sex in their lifetime, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Undoubtedly, the HPV vaccine will improve the health of people living with HIV and Hep C, as well as boys and men over the age of 26. We will continue to advocate for people of all genders and people living with HIV and Hepatitis C to have access to the HPV immunization program.