A new vaccine to strengthen the health of young Australians

Media release
08 Oct 2017
Prime Minister, Minister for Health
Health and Social Services

From the start of 2018, young Australians will have free access to the new Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, protecting against more strains of HPV infection.

This new and improved vaccine is a significant breakthrough and will provide Australian children with even greater protection against HPV.

Gardasil 9 is the most comprehensive and effective HPV vaccine ever.

The new Gardasil® 9 vaccine protects against nine strains of HPV (up from four) and will be offered through school based immunisation programs to all 12 to 13 year old boys and girls in years 7 or 8.

In addition, only two doses are required (instead of three), making it easier for adolescents to receive the full schedule and be fully protected.

Schools have been used for many years to deliver successful immunisation programs, including pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chicken pox), and the current version of Gardasil®.

Receiving the HPV vaccine through a school based program maximises protection for girls and boys.

HPV coverage rates in Australia are now higher than they have ever been, with the proportion of 15 year olds receiving all recommended doses increasing to 78.6 per cent for girls (up from 78 per cent in 2015) and 72.9 per cent for boys (up from 67.2 per cent in 2015).

The new vaccine will help protect girls and women ages 9 to 26 against cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers and genital warts caused by 9 types of HPV.

For boys and men ages 9 to 26, the vaccine will protect against anal cancer and genital warts caused by those same HPV types.

Australia was the first country to introduce a free national HPV program, starting with girls in 2007, followed by boys in 2013.

Adding Gardasil® 9 to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) is part of our $460 million investment in 2017-18 for vaccine purchases and activities to promote immunisation uptake.

The Australian Government’s HPV vaccination program, funded through the NIP, is credited with dramatically reducing the incidence of the HPV infection and disease in Australia.

The Turnbull Government’s recent expansion to the NIP means all individuals up to the age of 19 years can catch up on missed vaccines, including Gardasil®.

Further information about the new vaccine will be provided to parents and adolescents over coming months, in preparation for the 2018 school year.