All men who have sex with men (MSM) aged up to 26 years old who live in Victoria have access to a free course of HPV vaccine until 31 October 2019 (while stocks last).
All eligible MSM can access the vaccine through general practitioner (GP) clinics and other registered immunisation providers in Victoria, including sexual health clinics.
Why has the free vaccine program been introduced?
The HPV vaccine helps prevent the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause most HPV-related cancers in men.
The Victorian Government has provided funding for a free catch-up HPV vaccination program until 31 October 2019 (while stocks last) for MSM aged up to 26 years who may have missed the school aged vaccination program.
The HPV vaccine is very safe and effective and can protect against 90 per cent of HPV-related cancers in men, and 90 per cent of genital warts.
Who is eligible to receive the free vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is free until 31 October 2019 (while stocks last) for all MSM aged up to 26 years across Victoria.
Who can administer the free vaccine?
All eligible MSM can access the vaccine through GP clinics and other registered immunisation providers in Victoria, including sexual health clinics.
Immunisation against HPV involves a course of three injections over a six-month period.
What human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is supplied under the program and what age group can it be administered to?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine brand supplied is Gardasil®.
Gardasil® is a quadrivalent recombinant protein particulate (virus-like particles) vaccine. The vaccine is registered for use in males from nine years to 26 years of age.
What does this vaccine protect against?
Gardasil® provides protection against the HPV infection caused by four HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18, responsible for disease and cancers of the oral and anogenital areas and strains 6 and 11 which are responsible for genital warts.
How is Gardasil® presented?
Gardasil® presents as a 0.5ml dose in a pre-filled syringe with a needle for injection.
How is Gardasil® administered?
Gardasil® is administered by intramuscular injection into the deltoid muscle.
How many doses are required and what is the spacing interval of Gardasil® to complete a course?
Gardasil® is a three-dose course with the second dose given two months after the first dose and the third dose is given four months after the second dose.
This is a time-limited vaccine program ending 31 October 2019 (while stocks last), so to complete the free vaccine course in a timely manner, it needs to be commenced as soon as possible.
If an eligible MSM received a complete course of Gardasil® previously, do they still require a free booster dose of Gardasil® now?
No. A complete course of Gardasil® provides protection against the four HPV strains. There is no current evidence that booster doses are required at this time.
Have males been offered a free course of Gardasil® previously?
Yes. Adolescent males aged 12 to 15 years have been offered a free, three dose course of Gardasil® vaccine in the secondary school vaccine program or in the community setting since 2013.
If an eligible MSM did not receive a complete course of Gardasil® vaccine previously, do they require Gardasil® vaccine now?
Yes. They should receive the Gardasil® vaccine to complete their course of HPV vaccination.
If scheduled doses have been missed there is no need to repeat earlier doses. The missed dose(s) should be given as soon as possible, making efforts to complete doses within 12 months. A HPV vaccine course does not need to be restarted.
Are there any timing interval considerations for vaccine administration of Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV?
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV vaccines are inactivated vaccines and can be administered on the same day, or at any time before or after each other using different injection sites separated by 2.5 cm.
Can a person who is living with HIV be vaccinated with Gardasil® vaccine?
Yes. People who are eligible for vaccination under this program, who are immunocompromised due to medical conditions (including HIV infection) or treatment are recommended a three-dose course of Gardasil®.
People who are immunocompromised are more likely to develop a persistent HPV infection and to subsequently progress to HPV-related disease.
If an eligible MSM receives the three-dose course of Gardasil® vaccine, is a booster dose required later?
No. A complete three-dose course of Gardasil® does not require a booster dose at this time.
Can Gardasil® be administered with other vaccines offered free to MSM?
Yes. Multiple vaccines can be administered on the same day at different injection sites.
For more information about free vaccinations for MSM, download the important health information for men who have sex with men fact sheet.
Are there any vaccine side effects for Gardasil®?
The most common side effect following administration of Gardasil® vaccine is injection site pain followed by swelling and erythema.
Systemic adverse events are also common such as headache, fatigue, fever and myalgia. Syncope and hypersensitivity reactions, including skin rash are known.
Anaphylaxis has been reported and is within the expected rate range for other vaccines given to children and adolescents.
Important health information for men who have sex with men: a guide for health professionals and immunisation - factsheet
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