MORE than 6500 Tasmanian schoolboys will be eligible this year for the first of three vaccinations to protect them against cancers and disease caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
The grade 7 and grade 9-aged Tasmanian boys are among 280,000 Australia-wide who will be eligible for the free Gardasil vaccine this year, according to federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek.
Ms Plibersek said yesterday that the vaccine was estimated to prevent a quarter of new HPV infections.
"Vaccination will protect boys from cancer and genital warts and continue to reduce the rates of cervical cancer among women," Ms Plibersek said.
Since the HPV vaccination program started in 2007 there has been a reduction in HPV- related infections in young women and a reduced incidence of genital warts in males and females, Ms Plibersek said.
More than 3000 Tasmanian grade 7-aged girls are eligible for their first vaccination this month with follow-up doses due in April and August.
The follow-up program to vaccinate Australian boys as well as girls was announced last year.
It is believed to be a world- first program for boys.
More than one million Australian girls aged 12 to 16 have already been fully vaccinated against HPV under the school vaccination program.
Ms Plibersek said the vaccine was the best protection against the virus that infects four out of five sexually active people at some point in their lives and is linked to cancer and other disease.
She said that vaccinating Australian boys against the virulent virus protected those girls who were not properly vaccinated as well as protecting the boys.
The vaccinations will be delivered by qualified immunisation providers but only if parents and guardians give their consent.