Source: CBC News

Cost to the province estimated between $5 million and $8 million

The province is considering offering boys free immunizations against the human papillomavirus.

The HPV vaccination is currently offered on a voluntary basis to all girls in Alberta entering Grade 5. The vaccine is said to prevent 70 per cent of cervical cancers, according to Alberta Health and Wellness.

Two strains of HPV are also thought to be a cause of anal, penile and oral cancers.

Susan Morgan’s husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 oral cancer, which they later found out was caused by the HPV virus.

She has been lobbying to have the vaccine for boys covered by the province and was astounded the HPV vaccination was only free for girls.

Morgan says the effects of the radiation and chemotherapy treatment for the cancer were horrific.

“You have open sores in your mouth,” she said. “You start to lose your ability to swallow; you end up on a feeding tube.”

Free vaccine for boys recommended

A report by an advisory committee in Alberta recommends extending HPV coverage to boys.

Chief medical officer Dr. Andre Corriveau says that would cost between $5 million and $8 million.

Now he’ll review the report and advise the province by the end of the month.

“I have a responsibility right now to make sure our system has the capacity to deliver,” he said.

But, for the Morgans, waiting is not an option and they have decided to pay hundreds of dollars to vaccinate both of their sons.

A HPV vaccination for boys has been endorsed by the federal government.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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