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HPV jab to include boys from January

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/07/2016

The Gardasil vaccine that has been protecting young women against human papillomavirus will be expanded to include young men from next year.

All children and adults up to the age of 26 will be covered, with boys to be included in school programmes from January 1, Pharmac says.

In good news for needle-phobes, the vaccine is also being improved to cover more strains of the virus in fewer doses.

Changes to other vaccinations will also kick in from July 1, 2017.

A chickenpox vaccine will be funded as part of the childhood immunisation schedule, while the pneumococcal vaccine will reduce from 13 strains to 10.

"Other versions of the vaccine, including the 13 strain and 23 strain will remain fully funded for high risk patients," Pharmac operations director Sarah Fitt said.

Broadening vaccination programmes will make a considerable difference to the lives of many young New Zealanders, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said.

"As a result of these changes, an extra 100,000 New Zealanders are expected to be immunised against these potentially serious illnesses," he said.

The government invested $124 million over four years in this year's budget to help Pharmac fund new medicines.

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