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Information for Parents
You can Protect your Child from HPV-Related Cancers

Ontario's HPV Immunization Program Helps Protect Against Cancer


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Girls in Grade 8 in Ontario have been receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for free since 2007. Beginning in September 2016, all boys and girls in Grade 7 will now be able to receive the vaccine for free.

What does this mean for my family?

If you have a son or daughter in Grade 7 in September 2016, he or she will be offered the vaccine at school from your public health unit nurse.

If you have a daughter entering Grade 8 in 2016-2017, she will also be able to receive the HPV vaccine at school to ensure she doesn't miss the opportunity to be immunized. Moving forward, the vaccine will only be provided in Grade 7.

For most students, the vaccine is given with two injections, six months apart. For those who receive their first dose after age 14, or who have a weakened immune system, the HPV vaccine is given with three injections over six months.

It is estimated that without immunization 3 out of 4 sexually active Canadians will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives

What is HPV?

HPV is a virus that is very common around the world. It is estimated that without immunization, three out of four sexually active Canadians will get HPV in their lifetime. There are many different types of HPV and most people with HPV do not develop any signs or symptoms. However, some types of HPV can cause cervical or penile cancer as well as other cancers and genital warts in men and women. Fortunately, infections from most common cancer-causing types of HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine.

Why should my child get vaccinated against HPV?

The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys and girls in early youth so they will be protected from HPV infections that cause cancer. It is important to vaccinate your son or daughter well before they engage in sexually activity and are potentially exposed to HPV.

Does my child remain eligible to receive the HPV vaccine after grade 7?

If your child can't begin or finish their HPV vaccines while in Grade 7 during the 2016/17 school year, they are still eligible to receive the vaccine free of charge, until they finish Grade 12.

How does the vaccine work?

The HPV vaccine protects against HPV infection. In fact, the vaccine protects against four types of HPV, which cause approximately 92% of anal cancers, 89% of mouth and certain types of throat cancers, 70% of cervical cancers, 63% of penile cancers, and 90% of cases of genital warts.

Is the vaccine safe?

The HPV vaccine is very safe and effective. It has been carefully tested and is approved by Health Canada. In addition, Canada has a strong system in place to monitor the safety of the vaccine. The HPV vaccine is approved for use in more than 100 countries, and more than 175 million doses have been distributed around the world.

The HPV vaccine has similar side effects to most other vaccines. The most common side effects are mild and include arm pain, swelling or redness where the injection is given. The risk of a severe reaction from the HPV vaccine is extremely low.

Public health nurses give the vaccine and are at the school clinics at all times. They are trained to recognize and manage side effects, including any severe allergic reactions.

Talk to your health care provider or local public health unit if you have specific questions about who should not get the HPV vaccine. For more information, visit Ontario.ca/hpv.

Can my child get HPV from the vaccine?

No. You cannot become infected with HPV from the HPV vaccine. The vaccine strengthens a person's immune system to protect against HPV.

Are other vaccines offered in grade 7?

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, students in Grade 7 will be offered three vaccines as part of the school-based program: HPV, meningococcal and hepatitis B. It's possible that more than one vaccine will be given on the same day. Speak with your local public health unit or health care provider for more information.

In order for your child to receive the vaccines free of charge at school, please ensure that the consent forms are completed and returned.

Visit Ontario.ca/hpv to learn more.


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