The HPV vaccine will be given to Grade 6 boys across the province for the first time this school year.

Grade 6 girls have been getting the immunization in BC for almost 10 years.

Doctor Meena Dawar with Vancouver Coastal Health says of all the vaccinations given to school children, this one has had the lowest acceptance rate of between 65 to 75 per cent.

“It was seen as a girls-only program and parents had lots of concerns and questions so we’re hoping that by bringing boys in the fold and having it be a universal program, that coverage will increase and acceptance increases for all parents.”

Dawar says most people infected with HPV don’t show any symptoms and can pass the virus on to others without knowing it.

She says that an HPV infection will clear on its own but sometimes it won’t go away and cells infected with the virus can cause some of the most deadly cancers.