The Vaccination Program
The Canadian national HPV immunization program was introduced into schools in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 depending on the province. This program is offered to boys and girls (depending on the province and territory) and first vaccination occurs between grades 4 and 8 depending on location. (An Advisory Committee Statement (ACS) National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)† Update on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines)).
The vaccines are over 98% effective in preventing cervical abnormalities associated with HPV 16 and 18 in women who have all three doses and in those who have not yet been infected with HPV . However, efficacy is decreased if the vaccinated woman has already contracted the virus. Recent research shows that antibody response to two doses in adolescent girls is as good as a three dose course in the age group.
More information on the HPV vaccination program:
If you are not eligible for the free vaccine you can pay for it privately. Some local pharmacists also offer the vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine.
The HPV vaccination will help reduce the number of cases of HPV related cancers and the number of individuals who have to be treated for genital warts or HPV-related cancers. Whether girls/women have been vaccinated or not, the best protection against cervical cancer is to continue going for regular Pap tests and HPV tests for women over 30. The combination of HPV vaccination and cervical screening can help reduce cervical cancer incidence in Canada.
Human papillomavirus immunization programs by province/territory :
|Province/Territory||Routine Schedule for girls- 1,2 and 6 months (Year of implementation)||Routine Schedule for boys (Year of implementation)||Catch-up program for girls||Catch-up programs for boys||Other Information – Updated 2020|
|British Columbia||Grade 6 (2008)||Grade 6 (2017)||– Females and males (born in 2006 or later) vaccination initiated before 19 and catch up to 26 (2020)||– Females and males (born in 2006 or later) vaccination initiated before 19 and catch up to 26 (2020)||High Risk Program: HIV+ (9-26). Transgender 9-26. (2020)|
|Alberta||-Grade 6 (2020)||-Grade 6(2020)||– Students eligible to receive vaccine in Grade 6 continue to be eligible to receive the vaccine up to and including 26 years of age; Males and females 17 years up to and including 26 years of age (2020)||-Students eligible to receive vaccine in Grade 6 continue to be eligible to receive the vaccine up to and including 26 years of age; Males and females 17 years up to and including 26 years of age (2020)||– High Risk Program: Hematopoletic Stem Cell Transplant recipient: Less inclusive as catch-up program; Organ transplant candidates and recipients: less inclusive as catch-up program (2020)|
|Saskatchewan||-Grade 6 (2008)||-Grade 6 (2017)||– Females born since 1996 (2020)
– Females and males younger than 27 years old with specific medical conditions. Publicly funded immigrant and Refugee immunization
|– Males born since 2006
Females and males younger than 27 years old with specific medical conditions. Publicly funded immigrant and Refugee immunization
|High Risk Program: HIV+ males (9-17) (2020)|
|Manitoba||Grade 6 (2008)||Grade 6 (2016)||– Females born 1997or later (2020)
can get up to 3 doses, if they missed the Grade 6 program.
– Females born between 1986 and 2005 with an increased risk if HPV infection are eligible for the 3 doses, if they started the vaccine series before March 31, 2014.
– Females who are immunocompromised or HIV-positive and born during or after 1997 are also eligible to receive 3 doses.
|– Grades 8+9 (2016)
– Males born 2002 or later (2020)
|– High Risk Program: HIV + and immunocompromised Males 9-26 years of age
Females 9 -45 yeas of age.
Dx RRP (past or present); Men<18 incarcerated (past or present), Gay, bisexual male & Transgender 9-26; Sexual assault victims Males: 9-26/Females:9-45
Females 9-45 with new high-grade cervical histopathology (2020)
|Ontario||Grade 7 (2007)||Grade 7 (2016)||– Until Grade 12 (2020)
– Girls starting Grade 8 in the 2016-17 school year will be able to receive the vaccine.
|– Until Grade 12 (2020)||High Risk Program: High Risk Males 9-26
-Those with multiple sex partners up to 26 (2020)
|Quebec||Grade 4 (2008)|| – Grade 4 (2016)
– Also, men 26 years old and younger, who have sex with other men can get the HPV vaccine free of charge. (2016)
|– Until age 18||– Until age of 18||High Risk Program: Immunocompromised men or women (9-26)
|New Brunswick||Grade 7 (2008)||Grade 7 (2017)||—||—|
|Nova Scotia||Grade 7 (2007)||Grade 7 (2015)||—||—||High Risk Program: HIV and MSM 9-45 (2020)|
|Prince Edward Island||Grade 6 (2007)||Grade 6 (2013)||– Individuals who missed the HPV immunization in Grade 6 since 2007 (2020)||– Individuals who missed the HPV immunization in Grade 6 since 2007 (2020)||High Risk Program: Adult males: 18-26 with following risk factors:
– having unprotected sex with multiple partners (male and female)
-history of genital warts
– individuals who missed the HPV immunization in Grade 6 since 2012
Men who have sex with men (MSM) and for immunocompetent males and females who have HIV regardless of age.
Adult females: 18-45 with the following risk factors
– having unprotected sex with multiple partners (male and female)
– history of genital warts
– an abnormal PAP test
|Newfoundland and Labrador||– Grade 6 (2007)||– Grade 6 (2017)||—||—|
|Northwest Territories||– Grade 4, 5 or 6
*9-14 yrs: 2 doses
*15 yrs +: 3 doses
|— Grade 4, 5 or 6||– Males and Females 9-26 (2020)||– Males and Females 9-26 (2020)||It is important to note that the GNWT’s Immunization schedule for HPV vaccine is very comprehensive. The Northwest Territories (NWT) Immunization schedule allows for health care professionals to offer the HPV vaccine in school at grade 4, 5 or 6 and again in grade 7 as a catch-up to ensure students have every opportunity to have access to the vaccine in school. The HPV vaccine is not limited to students in these age groups. For example; if a student moves to the NWT at a different grade, or a parent changes their mind and would like their child vaccinated, they are encouraged to book an appointment at a local public health unit or community health centre at to receive the vaccine|
|Yukon||– Grade 6 (2008-09)||Grade 6 (2017)||– Females age 15-18||—||High Risk Program: Males and Females HIV+ (age 9-45) Males high risk (9-26); MSM; Street involved (2020)|
|Nunavut||– Grade 6 (2010) or more than 9 years old||-Grade 6 or more than 9 years old (2020)||—||—|
Advisory Committee Statement (ACS) and National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). (2012). Update on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines. Canada Communicable Disease Report. Vol. 38
Side Effects Caused by Vaccination
Thousands of girls and women of different ages took part in the clinical trials for the HPV vaccines . These trials found that the vaccine offers 98% protection against infection with the high-risk types of HPV in girls who haven’t previously been infected with the virus. Side effects from both vaccines are usually mild.
Side effects for the Gardasil HPV vaccine include :
Very common side effects (side effects which may occur in more than one per 10 doses of vaccine) reported by girls who have received the vaccine are:
- Injection site problems such as redness, bruising, itching, swelling, pain or cellulitis
Common (side effects which may occur in less than one per 10 but more than one per 100 doses of vaccine):
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Painful arms, hands, legs or feet
Rare (side effects which may occur in less than one per 100 but more than one per 1,000 doses of vaccine):
- More than one in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:
- An itchy red rash (urticaria)
- Fewer than 1 in 10,000 people who have the Gardasil HPV vaccine experience:
- Restriction of the airways and difficult breathing (brochospasm)
For information on side effects for the HPV Vaccine, please see these websites: